Patriots Notes: Pats Defend New England Crowd After Pete Carroll’s Jab

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FOXBORO, Mass. — Pete Carroll said Monday he was not impressed by the Gillette Stadium crowd during Sunday night’s New England Patriots-Seattle Seahawks thriller.

Later that day, the Patriots did their best to defend their home crowd, which Carroll said wasn’t “nuts” during Seattle’s 31-24 victory.

“He said it wasn’t nuts?” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “Well, (the Seahawks) have got the 12th Man, which is obviously a great fanbase, but we enjoy our fanbase. We appreciate the way that they support us. I think they brought a lot of positive energy (Sunday) night. So I would have to say I appreciate what our fans did for us. I think they provided a good environment (Sunday) night.”

“I love the atmosphere, as far as the fans and environment,” cornerback Justin Coleman added. “I’m not with another team, but I’m thinking from another team’s perspective, it’s probably a hard place to play.”

As much as Patriots fans like to make fun of Carroll on Twitter, the former Pats coach does have a point. Gillette is not known for having a raucous game-day atmosphere, and the vibe Sunday night was far more subdued that what one might expect for a primetime Super Bowl rematch.

“It’s not a great place,” Carroll said on during the “Brock and Salk” show on 710 ESPN Seattle. “They weren’t nuts. It’s because they’re so used to winning. There was a time when they kicked their last field goal to go ahead, and it was like a round of applause for the nice effort. Gosh, our guys would be going berserk. We’re so hungry for it.”

Some additional notes from Monday’s Patriots media availability:

— Patriots rookie cornerback Cyrus Jones returned to the lineup Sunday night after sitting out three consecutive games as a healthy scratch.

Jones did not play a single defensive snap in the loss, but he served as New England’s primary return man, catching seven of Seattle’s eight kickoffs and each of the Seahawks’ two punts.

Six of those seven kickoffs went for touchbacks, but the one Jones chose to return resulted in a 43-yard runback. He fumbled at the end of it, but teammate Nate Ebner recovered, giving the Patriots prime field position midway through the fourth quarter. Jones also had a 21-yard punt return that was called back because of a clipping penalty.

“I’ve always had a lot of faith in Cyrus’s ability since he got here,” Slater said. “I saw him in college, and I saw what he was able to do. And I think Cyrus, along with a lot of our young players, they really have a great mentality. Football as a rookie in the NFL is not always easy. Things are going to (go) good; things are going to go bad. But I think he’s handled himself with a great deal of maturity.

“A lot of guys would have gone in the tank, possibly, with his set of circumstances, but I think he’s worked his way. He’s earned everything he’s gotten, and it was good to see him make some positive plays (Sunday) night. Hopefully, we can continue to block for him and keep him going.”

— Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett didn’t speak with reporters Monday, but he walked through the locker room covered in whipped cream. Why? A team employee had pied him in the face a few moments earlier as part of a promotion.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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