Red alert: Patriots unproductive in red zone



FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The NFL and its fans welcomed back the regular officials with open arms Thursday night.

The New England Patriots are hoping their red-zone offense makes a triumphant return this week, too.

One season after scoring touchdowns on more than 65 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line, the Patriots have converted on just six of their 12 visits this season, a distinct difference for an offense accustomed to ranking among the league’s best.

“We want to score every time we get down there,” receiver Deion Branch said. “That’s our goal to score in the red area. We just got to do a better job of executing our plays.”

New England’s recent red-zone ineptitude was on full display in its 31-30 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. Nursing a six-point lead early in the fourth, quarterback Tom Brady marched the offense 79 yards to the Baltimore 2-yard line before Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 20-yard field goal.