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Patriots.com News Blitz 10/11/04

The New England Patriots made history yesterday. With a home victory over the Miami Dolphins, 24-10, the Pats became the first team in NFL history to win 19 consecutive games.

Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports that despite the magnitude of yesterday's win, it was mostly business as usual in the team's locker room after the game. Cafardo also reports that coach Bill Belichick did finally acknowledge the streak, but threw the credit to the players.

Jackie MacMullen of the Globe also reports on the subdued after-party, noting the team was disappointed by its many miscues against the Dolphins.

Tony Chamberlain of the Globe looks at Tom Brady, who had a less-than average day statistically, but cares only that the team got the win. "Brady agreed with coach Bill Belichick that the receiving corps has been depleted, but didn't believe yesterday's performance had anything to do with distractions caused by all the hype surrounding the streak," Chamberlain writes. Chamberlain also features rookie defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who had a stellar day in the trenches yesterday. "Wilfork considers yesterday's performance the best of his young career, especially considering he is still adjusting to New England's complex defensive schemes," writes Chamberlain. "Sounding very much like he has bought into his coach's philosophies, Wilfork said he won't rest on his laurels."

Michael Vega of the Globe highlights the team's depth by lauding the performances of some younger players who stepped up to fill voids yesterday. "They weren't interested in stealing any scenes, but wideout/ kick returner Kevin Kasper, rookie cornerback Randall Gay, rookie safety Dexter Reid, and running back Rabih Abdullah weren't exactly part of the background, either," writes Vega.

Joe Burris of the Globe writes about the difficult situation the Dolphins are in, having now dropped to 0-5. "It is highly unlikely the winless Miami Dolphins' season will conclude as an inverse of the undefeated 1972 team. To go 0-16 is as difficult as finishing 17-0. But this season's edition is well on its way to becoming one of the most futile in Miami's stellar history," writes Burris. Burris also looks at one of the few bright spots the Dolphins enjoyed yesterday. After an injury to Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare, kick returner Wes Welker took over his duties, eventually connecting on a field goal while still acting as return man.

Nancy Marapese-Burrell of the Globe reviews the day of Corey Dillon, who was again rock-solid, carrying 18 times for 94 yards before leaving with an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter. Marapese-Burrell reports the injury is not serious, noting, "Dillon said he felt well enough to keep competing but he was overruled."

Kevin Mannix of The Boston Herald reports that Belichick let his guard down just a little after yesterday's game, being the victim of a Gatorade-dumping and allowing a smile to creep onto his face.

Michael Felger of the Herald notes there were hidden clues around the stadium yesterday in anticipation of number 19. "The front office obviously had a sense of history as well, and it included several subliminal clues about the streak on their tickets," writes Felger. In his notebook, Felger also reports that despite injuries at the wide receiver position, Belichick benched Bethel Johnson for yesterday's game. "Belichick made clear that the benching was a 'coaching decision' and had nothing to do with an injury or a disciplinary matter," writes Felger.

Michael O'Connor of the Herald points out another streak that rolled on yesterday, as tight end Daniel Graham caught a touchdown pass for the fifth consecutive game.

Rich Thompson of the Herald commends the performance of left tackle Matt Light, who, once again, drew the unenviable task of handling Miami defensive end Jason Taylor.

Dan Venturaof the Herald goes inside the Miami locker room for some despondent post-game comments.

Tom Curran of The Providence Journal reviews yesterday's win, and notes the magnitude of the streak. "During this streak, there have been white-knuckle rides, seat-squirmers and forgettable rock fights. This one was the latter," writes Curran. In his notebook, Curran tries to place the winning streak from a historical perspective. "Having now gone where no team's gone before, in terms of consecutive wins, it's worth wondering where these New England Patriots fit on the list of the NFL's greatest teams," writes Curran.

Jim Donaldson of the Journal praises the play of receiver/kick returner Kasper and running back Abdullah, two relative unknowns who stepped up in yesterday's game.

Paul Kenyon of the Journal reports the Patriots offense can take pleasure in winning and making plays when they had to, despite posting the kind of numbers you would have expected to see coming from the Dolphins. "Tom Brady ended yesterday with a fat lip and some of the worst statistics of his NFL career. Yet, he was still a happy guy," writes Kenyon.

Shalize Manza Young of the Journal spotlights the improved play of the special teams, widely considered the weakest area of the Patriots game after last week's win in Buffalo. "Larry Izzo was of the opinion that the Patriots' special teams play was "a lot better" yesterday than it has been in previous games this season," writes Young.

The Journal's game summary highlights important plays and results quarter-by-quarter.

In The Hartford Courant, Alan Greenberg handles game review, and also notes that the Patriots took the game very personally.

Also in the Courant, Jeff Jacobspraises the Patriots consistency as the key to their winning ways.

Mike Reiss of The MetroWest Daily News is able to overlook the euphoria of the streak, and point out, for once, Brady was held in check. "The final numbers -- 7-of-19 for 76 yards -- marked his fewest completions and passing yards since becoming No. 1 on Sept. 30, 2001," writes Reiss. "He also had two touchdowns, one interception and one fat lip with stitches after getting whacked by the aggressive Dolphins' defense."

Reiss also gives credit to Dillon, whose fine play yesterday was punctuated by a rumbling, tumbling 36-yard run that seemed to require the entire Miami defense to finally bring him down.

In The Woonsocket Call, Michael Parente reviews the game, and has well-deserved praise for Dillon, who has shed his bad-boy persona to become the trusted workhorse of the Patriots offense. "Conventional wisdom suggests that the players whoâ??ve been here from the start can probably appreciate the New England Patriotsâ?? win streak more than the newcomers, but itâ??d be hard to find someone whoâ??s enjoying this more than running back Corey Dillon," writes Parente.

Standard-Times correspondents Tim Weisberg and Jonathan Darling break the streak down in many interesting ways, including by injuries, and which color uniforms the team wore in its wins. Darling also praises the work the Patriots linemen did yesterday, on both sides of the ball.

In The Portland Press Herald, Mike Lowe covers the game review. In his notebook, Lowe reviews injuries on both sides of the field.

Also in the Press Herald, Steve Solloway writes it is a quick acknowledgement of their history-making day, and then back to business for the Patriots. "But even Belichick recognizes what 19 straight wins represent. He let himself smile Sunday. He let himself hug his players and told them it was OK, finally, to talk about the streak," writes Solloway.

In his notebook, Ian Clark of The Union Leader hands out MVP honors, and checks in on Graham's personal streak.

Tom Pedulla of USA Today notes the remarkable month October has become for Boston sports fans. "For New England sports fans, this will always be an unforgettable October. The New England Patriots set an NFL record Sunday by rolling to their 19th consecutive victory, 24-10 against the winless Miami Dolphins," writes Pedulla. "It came two days before the region's beloved Boston Red Sox resume an 86-year quest for a World Series championship with another best-of-seven American League showdown against the hated New York Yankees."

In another nod to New England's current place at the forefront of the sports world, consider this week's installment of ESPN's Chris Berman's famed top-ten plays of the week. Number two: David Ortiz' game-winning, extra-inning home run last Friday night that sent the Red Sox into the ALCS. Number one: The Patriots 19th consecutive victory, yesterday at Gillette Stadium. Indeed, it is a good time to be a sports fan in New England.

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