FOXBOROUGH — On Wednesday, Tom Brady was limited in practice because of his right shoulder, according to the Patriots’ injury report. It was the first time this season that Brady was given the designation.
Earlier in the day, Brady participated in his weekly media availability.
“We’re sitting here at 1-2 and looking up at Buffalo and the Jets,” Brady said. “It’s a big, obviously big game for us in terms of conference and division standings. Any time you play a division opponent on the road, it’s a big game.
“We lost up there last year, so we have to go out there and try to play better than we’ve been playing.”
In Sunday night’s 31-30 loss to Baltimore, Brady completed 28 of 41 passes for 335 yards. The Ravens sacked Brady twice.
Brady and Ryan Mallett are the only quarterbacks on the roster; there are none on the practice squad. Brady’s limited participation Wednesday may be a function of the amount of passes he and Mallett have thrown in practice.
In previous seasons, Brady was regularly listed on the injury report as “probable (right shoulder).” The last time Brady’s shoulder was cited on the injury report was prior to the 2010 playoff game against the Jets. His foot was also cited on the report. Brady underwent foot surgery upon the conclusion of the 2010 season.
Bruised BillsBills running back C.J. Spiller didn’t practice Wednesday because of a shoulder injury. If he can’t play or is limited, Tashard Choice and Fred Jackson would be in the mix to assume his rushes.
“Whoever they give the ball to is making yards,” said coach Bill Belichick. “They’ve all made yards. They’re all good backs.
“Spiller’s obviously had a great start and put up tremendous numbers — 9 yards a carry or whatever it is. I don’t want to take anything away from Jackson or Choice. They’re really good, too. They break tackles. They run hard. They’ve made yards.
“I think whoever they give it to has been productive.”
Buffalo has averaged 178 rushing yards per game, third in the AFC. Spiller has rolled for 308 yards on 33 carries. He has scored three touchdowns and busted out a 56-yard sprint.
But Spiller was injured during the Bills’ 24-14 win over Cleveland last Sunday. During a conference call Wednesday, Buffalo coach Chan Gailey classified Jackson as being ahead of Spiller on the depth chart right now.
“Right now, we don’t know,” said Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty. “I heard he might play. In this league, it’s tough to know if guys are going to play. You have to wait and see what happens at the end of the week.”
Jackson has missed the last two games because of a knee injury suffered in Buffalo’s 48-28 loss to the Jets Sept. 9. Jackson was limited in Wednesday’s practice.
Against the Browns, Choice ran 20 times for 91 yards. He is averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
“Whoever’s got the ball, that’s our job to go get them,” said defensive end Rob Ninkovich. “Spiller, Jackson — our job is to go tackle those guys.”
Buffalo’s consistent ground game has given quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick options to run the rest of the offense.
“They run the ball well. They play-action well. They throw well. They keep you off-balance,” Belichick said. “They spread the field a lot and do all those things from all those formations except from empty.
“Other than that, they spread the field and keep you off-balance. They use all those elements. You have to defend everything.”
Shrugging it off
Patriots receiver Deion Branch took a wallop from Baltimore’s Ed Reed in Sunday night’s third quarter. Reed was flagged for unnecessary roughness, but Branch classified the hit as a standard football play. “He wasn’t trying to take me out of the game or whatnot,” Branch said. “He’s got to make his plays. I’ve got to do what I have to do.” Branch caught two passes for 11 yards against the Ravens.
The Patriots signed defensive lineman Terrell McClain, who was drafted by Carolina in the third round in 2011. McClain started 12 games last year, recording 19 tackles, one sack, and one fumble recovery. The Panthers released him Sept. 2. “More of an inside player,” said Belichick. “Out of South Florida. Athletic guy. We spent some time with him before the draft. We’ll see how it looks here.” The Patriots also released defensive lineman Marcus Forston. The 22-year-old made his NFL debut against the Ravens . . . Stevie Johnson leads the Bills with 13 catches for 172 yards. Johnson has caught a team-high three touchdown passes. “He’s tough to defend,” McCourty said. “When you watch him, he’s a guy who does some different things, especially at the line of scrimmage, that you don’t see every week from receivers. He’ll be a big challenge for us this week. In the secondary, we’ll have to know where he’s at and try to make some plays against him.” . . . Brandon Deaderick (ankle), Julian Edelman (hand), Justin Francis (ankle), Aaron Hernandez (ankle), and Logan Mankins (hip) didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice. Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring), Nick McDonald (shoulder), Sterling Moore (knee), Shane Vereen (foot), and Sebastian Vollmer (back) were limited.