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Patriots.com News Blitz - 10/31/2006

The Boston Globe's Mike Reiss reports that the Patriots excelled on all fronts in Monday Night's routing of the Vikings. The passing game erupted out of a spread formation. The defense swarmed, delivering crunching hits and forcing four turnovers. The special teams answered a lone mistake with a resounding response.

Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe reports that the receiving corps emerged in the game. New England threw the ball 43 times. Benjamin Watson, who had a career-high 95 yards on seven catches, and receivers Reche Caldwell, Doug Gabriel, Troy Brown, Chad Jackson, and Jabar Gaffney combined for 23 catches for 288 yards. The crew quieted criticism about the group's ability to provide quarterback Tom Brady with targets.

John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that Brady looked sharp against Minnesota. He threw for 372 yards. "We were clicking today," Watson said. "We realize we're not what we want to be, but we're getting there."

Michael Rand of The Boston Globe reports that the loss was a tough one for the previously 4-2 Vikings and their quarterback, Brad Johnson. Johnson threw three interceptions in the game. The Vikings only handed the ball to Chester Taylor 10 times, and he gained only 22 yards.

Boston Globe writer Jackie MacMullan reports on Tedy Bruschi. It has been almost exactly one year since Bruschi made his return to the field after recovering from a stroke.

MacMullan of The Globe also offers a feature on Tom Brady. He threw four touchdowns and completed passes to 10 different receivers in last night's game at Minnesota. Brady also posted his best quarterback rating of the season.

John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports on Richard Seymour, who played last night despite injuring his elbow in last week's game against Buffalo. Seymour was a game-time decision. "I wanted to go," Seymour said. "I prepared all week like I would, but I really didn't know. You could have flipped a coin, but I was able to go, and I give God all the credit. From taking that hit last week . . . I just didn't know."

Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe features Troy Brown. Brown is two grabs away from passing Stanley Morgan as the Patriots all-time receptions leader. The 35-year-old Brown caught two passes on Monday night.

Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal offers the Patriots play of the game. The play was a 77-yard kickoff return by Laurence Maroney, which came at a crucial moment in the game, just after the Vikings ran a punt back for a touchdown.

John Millea of the Boston Herald* *offers a feature on Benjamin Watson. Watson caught seven passes for 95 yards, with both numbers establishing career highs, including his first touchdown of the season, a 9-yard reception with 25 seconds remaining in the first half.

Shalise Manza Young of The Providence Journal reports on the Patriots exploitation of a weak Vikings secondary. Gaining yards often in large chunks, the Patriots offense was at its best, and showed that the unit believed to be a work in progress might not have that much work to do after all.

Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant reports on the quarterbacking in last night's game. Brady threw four touchdowns, while the Vikings quarterbacks threw four interceptions.

Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports on the Patriots kicking specialists, Stephen Gostkowski and Josh Miller. Apparently, the noisy Metrodome didn't bother them much. The indoor stadium actually made their jobs easier. "Good surface and no wind, so yeah, I guess it's a paradise for most kickers," said Gostkowski.

Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle reports that it may be time to start believing that the Patriots will be playing football deep into January or beyond. The victory improved the Patriots' record to 6-1 as they enter Sunday night's nationally televised showdown with the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts, the 8:15 p.m. NBC Sunday Night Football showcase that could serve as a preview of this year's AFC Championship Game if the Patriots continue their steady improvement.

Michael Parente of the Woonsocket Call reports on kick returner and former Patriot Bethel Johnson, who now plays for the Vikings. The Patriots have their own explosive weapon in the return game. His name is Maroney.

Hector Longo of The Eagle-Tribune reports on the Patriots defense, which was outstanding against the Vikings.

Don't forget to check out USA Today's Inside Slant on the Patriots, published weekly.

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