The Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks 30-20 yesterday afternoon, running their record on the season to 5-0, and their winning streak to 20 games.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe handles the game review, and also reports on a self-critical coach Bill Belichick. "Belichick's mea culpa was surprising, but he was serious. Asked to elaborate, he said, 'It was just, well, poor. I had guys wide open. It was bad, bad coaching, period. It was bad coaching. There was a guy wide open and there was nobody covering him because I screwed the thing up, just bad,' writes Cafardo.
Ron Indrisano of the Globe gives credit to running back Corey Dillon, whose stellar day included 105 rushing yards and two touchdowns. "Dillon's second 100-yard game of the season was the 38th of his career. He didn't make a big deal of it, but was pleased he had a big game against his hometown team," writes Indrisano.
Jim McCabe of the Globe writes on the defensive unit, which held strong against Seattle's near-comeback down the stretch of yesterday's game. "Credit the defense for not letting that happen because of yet another sterling effort in the red zone, a place where they are particularly effective thanks to a mind-set they have acquired," writes McCabe.
McCabe also recounts the heavy hit Tom Brady took in the second half, one that knocked loose both the ball and his helmet. "Nearing the first-down marker, Brady elected not to slide and you may have been able to hear 68,756 people gasp at once because Seahawk defenders Chike Okeafor and Michael Boulware were locked in and they produced a QB sandwich with a collision that could be felt far away, which is where the quarterback's helmet went," writes McCabe.
Paul Harber of the Globe notes Mike Holmgren would not mind if his Seahawks could emulate the Patriots. "Seattle coach Mike Holmgren came to bury the Patriots and wound up praising them after his team's 30-20 loss at Gillette Stadium yesterday," writes Harber.
Michael Felger of The Boston Herald indicates the Seahawks did not make things any easier on themselves by running their mouths in the week leading up to yesterday's game. "Doesn't the rest of the NFL know by now? Anything you say can, and will, be used against you by the Patriots," writes Felger.
In his notebook, Felger touches on Belichick's self-deprecating comments, Dillon's production, and the Patriots red zone defense, which once again excelled.
Kevin Mannix of the Herald looks back at the hit on Brady, which some suggest may be the cause of his poor play in the fourth quarter. "He insisted after the game that it was not a cause-and-effect situation, that his shaky play for most of the fourth quarter was not the result of the big hits on the fumble. He didn't call any plays from the Michigan playbook. He didn't call Joe Andruzzi by Steve Neal's name," writes Mannix.
Dan Ventura of the Herald reviews the passionate play of safety Rodney Harrison, who, naturally, took exception to Seattle's big mouths. "Rodney Harrison is one of those players who can get motivated for a preseason scrimmage. One can only imagine the fury when the Patriots safety heard some of the chirping coming from the Seahawks camp during the week," writes Ventura. Ventura also looks back at the play of the game, when Brady hit a streaking Bethel Johnson for a 48-yard gain that set up Dillon's second, and game-clinching touchdown.
Rich Thompson of the Herald provides more well-deserved kudos for the workhorse Dillon, and also reports on Ty Law, who tied the Patriots franchise record with his 36th career interception yesterday in the first quarter.
George Kimball of the Herald praises the defense for hassling Seahawks helmsman Matt Hasselbeck right out of the gates. "Having been ignominiously sacked four seconds into the game, Hasselbeck was then intercepted twice in the first quarter. On the first pick, Richard Seymour batted the ball up into the air, then [Willie] McGinest ran under it and raced 27 yards to set up the Pats' first TD," writes Kimball.
Tom Curran of The Providence Journal looks back at Johnson's amazing catch, which holds added significance considering the fact Johnson spent last week on the bench in Belichick's doghouse. "The design of the throw to Johnson was to let the fleet-footed receiver simply run a deep post. On third-and-7 with New England clinging to a 23-20 lead, it was a bit of a gamble. But the onus was on Johnson. Ironically, the coaching staff didn't feel it could put the onus on him last week, sitting him down even though the team was short of receivers," writes Curran. "Yesterday, Johnson helped make the brass look like it made the right choice both in sitting him to send a message, then in activating him to let him perform."
In his notebook, Curran chronicles now-quiet Seahawks receiver Darrel Jackson, the ingenuity Belichick displayed by calling a pass play for Dan Klecko, and Law's historic mark.
Paul Kenyon of the Journal adds praise to the heap that is accumulating in front of Dillon, as it is clear that Dillon brings a new, dynamic dimension that the Patriots offense did not enjoy the last several years. "The more Corey Dillon plays, the clearer it becomes how big a factor he can be for the New England Patriots," writes Kenyon.
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant provides game review, as well as acclaim for Johnson, who surprised many by making yesterday's big play. "You don't want a guy running half-hearted routes, thinking he'll never get the ball. That's why Brady tells his receivers to 'stay alive,'" writes Greenberg.
In The MetroWest Daily News, Jon Japha also gives credit to Johnson's catch, noting the many improbable aspects of the big play. "For starters, Johnson didn't play last week. He was essentially benched, so for him to make the afternoon's most important play in spectacular fashion is a nice story of redemption," writes Japha. Japha also writes yesterday's game shows the clear class separation between the Patriots and Seahawks. "There are Super Bowl favorites and Super Bowl contenders, and there's a pretty big distinction between the two," writes Japha.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call reviews the Johnson catch. "Brady said the team had worked on the play several times in practice, but Johnson was never an option until it came up during the game," Parente writes. In his notebook, Parente features Belichick's self-blame, those who were able to play with injuries, and another big play by Willie McGinest.
In an interesting feature ESPN.com has compiled "a game-by-game look at the Patriots record winning streak using commentary from ESPN.com writers where available, ESPN.com's wrap-up grid and AP recaps."
Both Clark Judge of CBS.sportsline.com and Don Banks of SI.com chime in on the Bethel Johnson play, while Tom Pedulla* of *USA Today credits the Patriots poise, quoting Dillon as saying "Nobody panics around here. That's the cool thing. We dig down even more and figure out what we have to do."