New England Patriots: 2014 Pro Bowl

Recapping Patriots in the Pro Bowl

January, 26, 2014
The Pro Bowl is in the books, and it was a relatively quiet one from a Patriots perspective.

The Patriots had three players participate -- left guard Logan Mankins, special teams captain Matthew Slater and kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Two others, quarterback Tom Brady and cornerback Aqib Talib, were original selections who didn't participate.

Mankins and Slater were original selections and were part of "Team Sanders" as they donned gray uniforms in the new non-conferenced format. Gostkowski, who was a replacement for Broncos kicker Matt Prater, was part of "Team Rice" (white jerseys).

Our biggest takeaway from a Patriots perspective?

Mankins has shaved his beard, which had generated notable momentum by the playoffs. No word on if that was a game-time decision.

He showed up a few times getting out in front on screen plays, touching down a defender after a lost fumble by running back Alfred Morris in the second quarter, and giving up a sack to Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

With no kickoffs in the game, Gostkowski was called upon for point-after attempts and clanged a 53-yard field goal off the right upright in the fourth quarter. We only saw Slater on the punt return and punt coverage units.

The new Pro Bowl format led to a more competitive game, with "Team Rice" winning 22-21.

Players on the winning team earn $53,000, while those on the losing side get $26,000.

Injured Aqib Talib bows out of Pro Bowl

January, 20, 2014
After suffering a knee injury on Sunday in the AFC Championship, Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib will be forced to miss this Sunday's Pro Bowl.

The 27-year old earned his first Pro Bowl honors after a standout 2013 regular season in which he was also named a second team All-Pro.

His knee injury on Sunday came on a controversial play in which he collided with Wes Welker, a hit that head coach Bill Belichick criticized Monday.

"It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open," Belichick said. "I'll let the league handle the discipline on that play, whatever they decide. It's one of the worst plays I've seen. That's all I'll say about that."

Talib will be replaced by Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, the first alternate at the position.