The NFL Europe League season kicked off this past weekend and two of the winning teams had one thing in common – contributions from members of the New England Patriots. Six of New England's seven active NFL Europe players came out on the winning side of the coin across the pond, with five Patriots playing a part in the Scottish Claymores' record-setting 62-31 win over the defending champion Berlin Thunder at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
The Claymores' win came in the highest-scoring game in league history, and one of their touchdowns had a distinctively New England accent, as quarterback Shane Stafford hit Scott McCready in the end zone for a 26-yard score in the second quarter. Former Brown University star Michael Malan tore off a 17-yard run in the third quarter as part of a solid effort at fullback that helped the Claymores stomp for 282 yards rushing. Tight end Rod Trafford added a 12-yard reception from Stafford on the touchdown drive that ended in McCready's score, and cornerback Dyshod Carter tied for the team lead in tackles with 6 solo stops and also batted away a pass in the first quarter. Stafford quarterbacked the Claymores for the entire second quarter, while the other four Patriots started at their respective positions.
In other games around the Continent, Courtney Ledyard got the start at middle linebacker for the Rhein Fire and recorded 4 solo tackles to tie for the team lead as the Fire dropped a close 17-15 decision to the Amsterdam Admirals in Schalke, Germany. In the weekend's other game in Mike Clare started at center for the Frankfurt Galaxy as they upended F.C. Barcelona, 15-13 in Frankfurt, Germany.
T.C. Taylor, the Patriots' eighth NFL Europe allocation, is on injured reserve with the Barcelona Dragons.
Patriots NFLE Numbers
McCready finished with just the one catch for the 26-yard touchdown, but also added one kickoff return for 34 yards and made three solo tackles on special teams. … Malan finished the weekend with two rushes for 23 yards and one reception for five yards while blocking for a rushing attack that totaled 282 yards. … Stafford completed 6-of-9 passes for 76 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and a 90.3 passer rating in limited action. … Trafford had just the one catch for 12 yards. … Ledyard tied for the team lead with four solo tackles while helping the Rhein Fire defensive unit hold the Amsterdam Admirals to just 85 yards rushing in a tough loss.