Brady says Thielen vs. Belichick ‘pretty funny’
MINNEAPOLIS — Tom Brady got a kick out of seeing Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen and New England coach Bill Belichick jaw at each other Sunday.
Early in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ 24-10 win at Gillette Stadium, the two went back and forth after Vikings running back Latavius Murray got a first down on a fourth-and-1 carry that was unsuccessfully challenged by New England.
Thielen said he was upset because it was “cheap’’ that safety Patrick Chung went down on the play, alleging he might have done so to give the Patriots more time to decide whether to challenge.
“I’ve been on the other end of that few times in my career,’’ Brady, New England’s quarterback, said Monday, Dec. 3, on his weekly radio spot on WEEI. “Pretty funny. … It’s competitive out there. It’s very feisty, and everyone’s emotions are on their sleeves. You say something and there is just an emotional reaction. That was pretty funny.”
Zimmer seeks consistency
After a stretch in which they won three straight games in October, the Vikings have lost three of their past five games. That lack of consistency is vexing head coach Mike Zimmer.
“Right now, we’re kind of an up-and-down team a little bit, and that’s the thing that frustrates me the most," he said. "We need to develop more consistency with this football team. … I’m still trying to figure out how we can do that.”
It hasn’t helped that the schedule has gotten tougher. Their past three losses have been to division leaders New Orleans, Chicago and New England. The Vikings don’t have a win this season over a team that currently has a winning record.
The Vikings didn’t sack Brady once Sunday, just the second game this season they haven’t gotten to a quarterback.
“We couldn’t put pressure on him," defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said. “We never got in position to make it a pass-rush game."
Richardson said playing from behind all game was one reason. With a lead, the Patriots were able to mix up the run and pass.
According to Pro Football Focus, Brady faced pressure on just 21.2 percent of his dropbacks Sunday, the lowest rate among NFL starting quarterbacks in Week 13. According to the analytics site, Brady was helped by releasing his passes in an average of 2.2 seconds, the second-fastest among quarterbacks in Week 13.
Running back Dalvin Cook, who missed five of six games with a hamstring issue before returning Nov. 4 against Detroit, said there are no lingering effects from the injury. “I feel great,’’ said Cook, who carried nine times for 84 yards against New England.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks had a career-high 16 tackles Sunday, topping his previous high of 14 on Nov. 18 at Chicago. Kendricks also had an interception and a pass defended.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins leads the NFL with 350 completions and is on pace to finish the season with 467. That would be just shy of the NFL record of 471 set by New Orleans’ Drew Brees in 2016.