LANDOVER, Md. — It wasn’t a perfect start for Mike Nugent, but it was a perfectly acceptable finish.
The Patriots’ new kicker missed his first attempt of the day — a point after following Julian Edelman’s first-quarter touchdown — but returned to kick a pair of field goals and three PATs in New England’s 33-7 win over the Redskins Sunday at FedEx Field.
Nugent took over for Stephen Gostkowski, who is on injured reserve with a hip problem after missing four PATs this season. New England might have groaned at Nugent’s miss; he was kicking himself, too.
“Going on there on that first one, when you think about it, it was just one of those things like I can’t stand. I think I can speak for every kicker, to see my teammates go down and expect 7 points and I only give them 6 is something I find unacceptable,’’ Nugent said. “It gives me something to work on definitely this week. It’s definitely good to bounce back and hit some short ones and the rest of them but it’s just like a golfer, you’re thinking about the shot you want back. I’m going to work at it this week and make sure it doesn’t happen again.’’
He said the key was forgetting about that kick as quickly as possible.
“If you can just have a very short-term memory and just think, ‘OK, here’s what I did wrong on that one.’ I don’t expect to miss kicks like that, and I never want to ever again,’’ he said. “It just takes a lot of work to make sure you get out there and just hit the same ball, and I think I did that consistently the rest of the game.’’
Nugent said he has received a ton of support since joining the club last week, and that was the case after his miss.
“This is a team that buys in. The few days I’ve been here everybody is working hard together to get that main goal. I noticed throughout the entire week, do your job first and then everything kind of falls into place.”
Dorsett exits early
Phillip Dorsett did not return after injuring his hamstring early in the game.
Dorsett left in the first quarter. It looked as if he may have gotten hurt on a third-down play that ended with Tom Brady getting sacked. As the Patriots sent the punting unit on, Dorsett was slow walking to the sideline. Shortly after, he left for the locker room with trainers and was quickly declared questionable to return.
Dorsett joined several other Patriots receivers making regular visits to the training room. Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon started but have dealt with injuries recently, Edelman to his chest and Gordon to his finger and knee.
With Dorsett out, rookie Jakobi Meyers had an uptick in snaps and had one catch for 6 yards.
Bracing for it
Tom Brady had a 6-yard scramble in the second quarter negated by a holding penalty. But when Brady slid to the turf, his knee brace got caught on the natural grass surface at FedEx Field and filled with dirt. The game was held up for a minute while Brady tried to clean out the brace with some help from Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, and Brady said he’ll have to find a new brace because some of the buckles broke.
Brady has worn a brace on his left knee ever since tearing his ACL in 2008.
“I was trying to push [the sod] out, but it’s like super-glued in there,” Brady said. “The brace on the side just digs in the turf. I should slide on my right side, but the turf usually doesn’t do that. But on the grass sometimes it sticks. . . . The little buckles get all contorted, so we’ll get a new one for next week.”
No word on Gruden
As the losses mount week after week for the now 0-5 Redskins, there are more and more questions about coach Jay Gruden’s job security.
“I’ll just wait and see if the key works on Monday,’’ he said, asked if he had heard from anybody in the Washington organization about his job security. “Nobody’s told me anything.”
The Redskins defense held the Patriots in check in the first half, giving up just 12 points to trail by 5 headed into the locker room, but the unit got steamrolled by Brady & Co. in the final 30 minutes. Washington has been outscored this season, 73-33, in the second half and has been shut out after intermission in consecutive games.
“We played pretty good in the first half, held ’em to a field goal at the end, and then in the third quarter, they went touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, I think,’’ lamented Gruden, forgetting that his team actually made a stop on the Patriots next possession after Sony Michel’s 14-yard touchdown run made it 26-7. “We’ve had major problems coming out at halftime. Contrary to belief, it’s not about second-half adjustments, it’s about second-half mentality.
“For whatever reason, we have gotten beaten up in the third and fourth quarters of games. Penalties, turnovers, lack of third-down playmakers have killed us these first five games. We’ve just got to keep working.”
Home away from home
Blue jerseys were everywhere, coolers were full of Sam Adams, and trash bins were collecting empty Dunkin’ Donuts cups by the minute at FedEx Field, adopted home of the New England Patriots.
At kickoff time, it appeared as if 80 percent in attendance were supporting New England. The home team, at 0-4, isn’t getting much fan support and there are plenty of Patriots fans living in D.C., or willing to travel.
“Yeah, it was amazing,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “Oh, my God, there were so many Patriots fans there, it’s surprising and overwhelming. It was great to see them, appreciate the support from all of our traveling Patriot fans. Maybe they’re from here, I don’t know, but that was great to see, that was awesome.”
It even seemed as if the PA operator was rooting for the Patriots. After Josh Gordon made a chunk play in the third quarter, the Flash Gordon theme played on the loudspeakers.
“It was confusing, I would say it felt like a home game, just like Foxborough to be honest,” Gordon said. “It was great to have that support from our fans traveling.”
The Patriots lost receiver Phillip Dorsett to a hamstring injury in the first quarter. It led to an uptick in snaps for rookie Jakobi Meyers, who had one catch for 6 yards . . . High marks: Julian Edelman entered with 520 career receptions and caught eight passes to move past Rob Gronkowski (521) into fourth place on the Patriots’ all-time reception list. Stanley Morgan is third with 534 receptions . . . The Patriots are 5-0 for the fifth time in team history (1974, 2004, 2007, 2015) and the fourth time under Belichick . . . Rookie defensive lineman Chase Winovich has registered at least a half of a sack in four straight games, tying a team record for a rookie. The last Patriots rookie to do that was Brent Williams in 1986 . . . Ryan Izzo caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Brady in the fourth quarter for his first NFL touchdown . . . Fullback Jakob Johnson caught a 5-yard reception from Brady in the first quarter for his first career reception . . . Jason McCourty’s pick of Colt McCoy was the team’s 11th of the season.
Develin works out
For the second straight week, fullback James Develin made the trip and did a pregame workout on the field. Develin (neck) is on injured reserve . . . Also, Cody Kessler had a pregame workout/tutorial session with assistant quarterbacks coach Mick Lombardi. Belichick was complimentary of Kessler’s work last week. “Yeah, Cody’s done a nice job for us. He’s really smart. He’s come in here, he’s learned — I mean, he’s out there calling plays, signaling receivers, making adjustments like he’s been here longer than two weeks or whatever it is. So, he’s picked things up very quickly. He has a good rapport with all of the players. He’s willing to do whatever we ask him to do. He works extremely hard.’’