Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that clutch kicker Adam Vinatieri now has 19 game winning kicks in 20 attempts. Vinatieri has made more game-winning field goals than any other kicker in the NFL, and he hasn't missed a kick that would have meant victory since he misfired on a 32-yarder with nine seconds remaining at Kansas City on Oct. 10, 1999. "When you stand out there and watch him in practice, they all pretty much go through," said coach Bill Belichick. "It's not like me standing on the first tee where you have one in the woods, one in the water, one out of bounds, and then one in the fairway. With him, pretty much all of his balls, he hits them straight. They don't drift. He's a good technique kicker."
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that the Patriots were able to hide the problems with their defense because their offense displayed such a juggernaut performance. "I think we definitely have the potential to do that. We just have to put it together all the time now,'' wide receiver Tim Dwight said. "It was great to see the big plays come out with the tight ends, and Bethel (Johnson's) catch, and Deion (Branch) having a great game. It was nice to see it all take shape." Corey Dillon (106 yards) and Patrick Pass (34 yards, touchdown) combined for 140 yards on the ground. Nine different receivers, led by Branch (eight catches, 107 yards) and Daniel Graham (five catches, 119 yards), combined for 350 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots 31-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers his weekly Patriots report card in which he grades all aspects of the team. Felger gives high grades on all aspects of the offense, average grades for the defensive line and a failing grade(F) for the Patriots secondary.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that Bill Belichick offered glowing remarks on tight end Daniel Graham's 45-yard touchdown reception during yesterday's press conference. "Every once in a while, you get a play, maybe two or three a game, that really kind of happen just the way you drew them up. Or just the way the situation was practiced. Or you call a play or a defense and it hits exactly against what you hoped it would hit against. . . . It hits right," Belichick said. "On Graham's play, (Stephen) Neal made a terrific block. (David) Givens made a good block downfield. Graham got running and broke a few tackles. So, yeah, it's great to just sit back, put your feet up on the desk and start (the tape) from the sideline and let (the play) run to the end zone. It looked pretty good."
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that Tom Brady should be given the most credit on the Patriots successes this season. Curran writes that Brady has led the team through a difficult slate of early-season games with a defense shredded by injuries, retirements and sabbaticals. The Patriots have faced some of the league's toughest defenses and they've done so with rookies on the left side of their offensive line and a running game that's just starting to get its feet under it. Curran adds that if Brady was anything less than superb, the Patriots might be 1-4. He's completing 65.4 percent of his passes, is fourth in the NFL in attempts (182) and second in yards (1,522).
Shalise Manza Young of the Providence Journal writes that the Patriots running game is finally firing on all cylinders and was on full display during Sunday's 31-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Corey Dillon (106 yards) and Patrick Pass (34 yards, touchdown) combined for 140 yards on the ground.
Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant writes that the Patriots defense is allowing an average of 27.2 points a game this season after allowing an average of 16.3 points a game in 2004. Which makes the lackluster defensive performance in Sunday's 31-28 victory over the Falcons pretty much average for them. Greenberg speculates that the lack of interceptions so far this season could be a contributing factor in the defenses lackluster performance this season. To date the Patriots have only 1 interception. In comparison, the team had 20 interceptions last season.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.