Patriots Notebook

Rush will have to be fast to catch this quarterback

By Adam Kilgore
Globe Staff / November 15, 2009

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FOXBOROUGH - The Patriots will try to perform one of the most difficult tasks in football tonight: sacking Peyton Manning.

On the 322 plays he has dropped back to pass this season, Manning has been sacked seven times. That rate of 2.2 percent leads the NFL, and it owes more to Manning than his offensive line.

“He gets rid of the ball,’’ Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “He throws it away. The only way to sack him is for somebody to come that he doesn’t expect - the guy’s blocked and he beats a block and Peyton’s not thinking about him or for some reason he just doesn’t see him. If he sees him coming, he’ll get rid of the ball. And he has a quick release anyway.

“Historically, we’ve seen people blitz him, and the blitzer comes clean from the center-guard gap or right from the line of scrimmage, and he still gets rid of it. And sometimes for big plays.’’

“It’s not so difficult getting to him,’’ linebacker Tully Banta-Cain said. “It’s getting to him before he throws the ball. He has a quick release. We watch film, you see him getting hit almost every time. But he’s getting the ball off and completing it.’’

Still, the quick release does not negate the importance of applying pressure. According to, Manning has a 108.5 passer rating when not facing pressure and a 91.2 rating when facing it.

“He’s a very poised guy in the pocket, but he can get happy feet,’’ Banta-Cain said. “The more you can get him to move around and have him stumble around the pocket, that buys time for guys on the back end to stay on their coverage.’’

Easy pickings?
For the third time in four games, the Patriots will face a secondary starting two rookie cornerbacks. Decimated by injuries to Bob Sanders, Marlin Jackson, and Kelvin Hayden, the Colts will start rookies Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey, a third-round pick and an undrafted free agent, at cornerback.

“I look at this Colts secondary, and I look at a Colts secondary that’s in trouble,’’ said former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, now an analyst for NBC. “If you’re Tom Brady and the Patriots, you have to look to really exploit that secondary and take shots down the field.’’

The Patriots faced a pair of rookies in a 59-0 victory over Tennessee and last week in their 27-17 win over the Dolphins. In those games, Brady completed 54 of 71 passes for 712 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Sound and fury
The Patriots practiced inside their bubble outside Gillette Stadium yesterday, which allowed them to play with noise blaring. Lucas Oil Stadium does not pack the audible punch of the old RCA Dome, but the Patriots are still wary of crowd noise.

No player is more affected by noise on the road than the quarterback. Because he was injured last season, Brady has not yet played in Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Communication is a problem for the offense, there’s no doubt about that,’’ he said. “Any dome is typically loud. The RCA Dome was exceptionally loud; you couldn’t hear anything in there.

“I’ve heard that this is a fairly loud stadium. The RCA Dome was, I think from what I hear, a little bit louder. Peyton actually told me that.’’

Tate done for year
Receiver Brandon Tate (knee) has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. Isaiah Stanback, who is listed as a quarterback but also plays receiver, running back, and kick returner, was promoted from the practice squad to fill the roster spot . . . Running back Sammy Morris (knee) was downgraded to out . . . Guard Logan Mankins has played the Colts at least once in all four of his seasons with the Patriots, and one memory sticks out most. “Well,’’ he said, “I scored a touchdown in one of them.’’ In the 2006 AFC Championship, Mankins pounced on a fumble in the end zone. “My only NFL touchdown,’’ he said. “I spiked it, and I think [Mike ] Vrabel . . . saved it for me.’’

Adam Kilgore can be reached at

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