November 25, 2007
FOXBORO -- Asante Samuel became the 20th -- that's right, 20th -- New England player to score a touchdown this season when he returned an interception 40 yards for a score in the opening minutes against the Eagles.
He joins Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Benjamin Watson, Sammy Morris, Donte Stallworth, Kyle Brady, Tom Brady, Kyle Eckel, Ellis Hobbs, Mike Vrabel, Willie Andrews, Matt Cassel, Rosevelt Colvin, Heath Evans, Kevin Faulk, Jabar Gaffney, Randall Gay, Laurence Maroney, and Adalius Thomas in getting into the end zone for the Patriots.
The NFL record for most players scoring in a season is 21, shared by the 2000 Denver Broncos and the 1987 Los Angeles Rams.
-- JIM DONALDSON
Posted by Jim Donaldson at 10:06 PM | Permalink
FOXBORO -- Of the Patriots' 207 net yards in the first half, only 13 came on the ground, and 12 of those were on a scramble by QB Tom Brady. The Pats' only "real" carry was a 1-yard TD plunge by FB Heath Evans.
-- JIM DONALDSON
Posted by Jim Donaldson at 10:01 PM | Permalink
FOXBORO -- Finally getting on the field with 6:38 to play in the first quarter, the New England offense proceeded to score on its first possession for the 10th time in 11 games, driving 78 yards in 10 plays, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown run by Heath Evans.
The Patriots now have scored a league-high 58 points the first time they've had the football through 11 games this season.
Coming on after the Eagles had tied the score with a 14-play, 77-yard drive that consumed 7 minutes, the Patriots went without a huddle -- and a running back -- on their opening drive, until they brought in Evans at the goal line.
Keeping Laurence Maroney, injured last Sunday night in Buffalo, on the bench on their opening drive, the Pats instead went with five receivers -- primarily Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney and Kevin Faulk.
-- JIM DONALDSON
Posted by Jim Donaldson at 8:50 PM | Permalink
November 19, 2007
By Joe McDonald
Journal Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. _ Bill Belichick’s name will never show up on the final score sheet.
But after the New England Patriots completely dismantled the Buffalo Bills 56-10 Sunday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium, every Patriots player gave their coach more props than usual.
With New England’s victory, the team is 10-0 in 2007 and things could only get better with the way the Patriots are playing, and with the way Belichick is coaching. In fact, during his eight-year tenure in New England, his ability to get the most out of his players has been quite obvious.
This season, however, it’s clear more than ever.
After the Patriots defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Colts, New England enjoyed a bye last weekend with Belichick giving his players five days off to do whatever they wanted. But, when they returned to Gillette Stadium last Monday, they were put through one of the toughest weeks they’ve had this season in order to prepare for last night’s game.
According to Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss, the coach gave the team a huge slice of humble pie.
The unbeaten record didn’t mean much. The complete dominance its shows every week didn’t mean much. Belichick wanted to make sure the Patriots weren’t getting too far ahead of themselves. After all, it’s only November.
“I’ve always known coach Belichick to be a hell of a coach,” said Moss. “I consider him the greatest coach ever, but I really didn’t expect the week of preparation he put us through. I’ve never been through that, so for us to come out and win this game the way we did is actually something to really smile about."
Moss said it was a hard week mentally and emotionally, something he’s never experience in his career.
“He really put us through it,” added Moss. “Coming off the bye week, and me not knowing what to expect, he tore our heads off Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It was just a big week, an emotional week.”
Moss, and the rest of the players in the cramped quarters of the visitor’s locker room at Ralph Wilson Stadium, said the coach placed a lot of emphasis on making sure the team was prepared.
“He didn’t want us to be satisfied by being 9-0 and coming off a bye week,” added Moss. “He put it to us this week. I have to commend him on that because not many head coaches will bit down hard, and put their team through the work he put us through this week. It surely paid off.”
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who always points out that the coach’s preparation is what allows New England to be so successful every Sunday, definitely made it a point after Sunday’s game to press it even further.
“He sets the tone for us,” said Brady. “He’s a great leader for us and he has high expectations, and when we don’t play up to those expectations in practice or the game, he let’s us know.”
Brady felt the team responded well to Belichick’s demeanor leading up to Sunday’s victory. He treated the team like it was 0-9 and not 9-0. For the players to respond so positively to Belichick’s philosophy the way they did is pretty amazing given this day and age of professional sports.
With such a big win on Sunday, the players are expecting much of the same this week.
“He doesn’t change his tone too often,” said Brady. “That’s just the way he coaches. There’s never anything that’s good enough, and after a well you get sick of it [saying] ‘enough coach.’ We take beating after beating after beating, but a lot of it helps us prepare and a lot of it puts us in the right frame of mind to go out there and play well each Sunday. It’s been 10 weeks and we have 10 victories, which is great.”
With the Bills now in the rear-view mirror, the Patriots have turned their focus to the Eagles.
“I hope we play up to his expectations,” said Brady.
Seriously, though. The team is 10-0 and is on pace to complete a historic season. What else is there to nitpick?
Belichick will find something.
“I missed a blitz pickup tonight from a look that I never expected them to blitz on,” said Patriots’ Heath Evans. “We are coached so diligently week in and week out, and we know so much coming into these games. Sometimes we relax because you’re not expecting [something] because of the way we are coached.”
Evans said there are always things you can improve on in order to play perfectly.
Belichick wouldn’t expect anything less.
“You know we’re going to be coached hard,” Evans said. “We’re going to practice hard, and that’s all I can guarantee you.”
Posted by Joe McDonald at 12:32 AM | Permalink