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Patriots' Carter looking to continue solid play

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Andre Carter's franchise record lasted all of three days.

And he could care less.

After setting the New England Patriots' single-game mark with 4 1/2 sacks in a 37-16 win over the New York Jets last Sunday night, Carter was tabbed the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his havoc-wreaking performance.

Later that day, though, the NFL awarded the additional 1/2 sack to linemate Mark Anderson, dropping Carter into a four-way tie for the franchise mark.

Regardless, it was four sacks. I think that's just something that's hard to come by for any player,'' the defensive end said Friday.That's definitely a game I'll remember and you put it in your hip pocket and keep on going.

``It's totally fine. Sacks in general are hard to come by. But I was just happy just as a team just to go out there and play our game. That was the most important thing.''

And, after much anticipation, it finally started up front.

Carter - who has 8 1/2 of New England's 20 sacks this season, and eight in the last four games - has been praising the effort of the veteran defensive line all season, saying the star-studded front four was developing, jelling and ready to make an impact anytime now.

Then Albert Haynesworth, the mercurial defensive tackle signed by the Patriots to much fanfare this offseason, was cut early in the week leading up to the Jets game.

All Carter did was respond with the best game of his 11-year career.

Like I tell everybody, I just play hard, 100 miles per hour and whatever happens, happens,'' he said.I think it's always great just to have a performance as a defense in general and everything else will take care of itself.''

Even his hard-to-impress coach took notice.

I think Andre has a good combination of speed and power and technique that he uses. He uses all those,'' New England coach Bill Belichick said Monday.He can bring power, he can bring speed and he can use technique in terms of getting the blocker's hands off him and working his shoulder and things like that. He does all those things well.''

The challenge now for the defensive line is attempting to slow a potentially potent Kansas City offense led by Tyler Palko, making his first career start Monday night in place of former Patriots' quarterback Matt Cassel, likely out for the season with a hand injury.

Despite a limited amount of film on the second-year quarterback, the Patriots are already aware of his legs.

He's just a very elusive quarterback,'' Carter said,and that's something that as a pass rusher, it doesn't matter if you're coming off the edge or inside, you have to be aware of because he's a playmaker.''

Palko is also a southpaw, meaning Carter, who has spent the majority of his career lining up on the right side, will be staring down his left-handed target as he barrels toward him.

Now, granted when you do go up against a left-handed quarterback as a right defensive end you're kind of in that gray area where you say, `OK, how do I rush this guy?' " said Carter, who recorded one sack from the left side this season against Dallas.But at the same time you just got to play football because if you hesitate, they win. If you're over aggressive, they win. So, you got to find that middle ground and we'll definitely get a feel for it.''

Stopping the run this week may be more important than usual. Kansas City averages nearly 30 attempts a game, fifth most in the league - and that was before Palko entered the picture.

Despite the wins or losses, they're very effective in the running game, they move the ball efficiently,'' Carter said.So, definitely stopping the run, like any other good offense, is always something that you have to keep in mind, and of course, get off the field on third down.''

New England's banged up linebacking corps and patchwork secondary could possibly place even more internal pressure on the defensive line to attack the quarterback this week.

Linebackers Brandon Spikes (knee) and Dane Fletcher (thumb) missed all four practices this week, and Pro Bowl cornerback Devin McCourty practiced for the first time Saturday after reportedly separating his shoulder against the Jets.

Whether McCourty plays on Monday night is unclear. Carter, however, said it makes no difference to the line.

Whoever's there lined up, it just doesn't matter,'' he said.Just having a strong seven front despite any injuries, whether it's in the front or the back ends, we just got to be in sync and make sure we communicate on and off the field.

I just think whoever's lined up is always a threat,'' Carter added.So just always got to be on your Ps and Qs and just be a professional and go out there and execute accordingly.''

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