FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) New England is using balance to break out of its offensive slump.
A statement win over Cincinnati on Sunday night helped even though the stats show the Patriots have had a mediocre offense so far this year. New England is 10th in the AFC in total offense; ninth in rushing and tied for eighth in passing.
Not numbers the Pats are used to, yet better than they were before beating the previously undefeated Bengals 43-17.
''Balance is important, obviously, to maintain as you're playing in this league,'' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters Tuesday. ''You never see many teams have tremendous success when they become one-dimensional.''
New England succeeded against Cincinnati by mixing up its attack.
Brady threw for two touchdowns and Ridley rushed for a TD.
''It would be our goal each week to try and maintain that as best we could, unless the defense obviously did something to make that almost impossible,'' said McDaniels. ''That was good to see - that we could move the ball in both areas.''
The Patriots hit Cincinnati with an up-tempo offensive approach from the start and the Bengals never really seemed set for what was coming at them.
''Any time you do that, you're hoping that you can get yourself into a little bit of a rhythm and just force the defense to play faster, communicate faster, try to get lined up faster,'' McDaniels said. ''And as a result, sometimes you get some looks that are a little bit more ideal than others.''
NOTES: New England coach Bill Belichick said it was difficult to release second-year wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who was claimed on waivers by the Oakland Raiders. ''It's always tough to release a player, especially one like KT who works extremely hard and was really a dedicated athlete and certainly had a lot of good moments of performance for us,'' Belichick said Tuesday. ''Oakland will be getting a young, hard-working player . I think KT has a future in this league.'' The Patriots had hoped to get Thompkins through waivers and back onto the practice squad.