Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that with Sunday's return of Tedy Bruschi, Patriots linebacker Chad Brown found himself not only out of the starting lineup, but out of the playing lineup. And he said coach Bill Belichick gave no assurances it won't happen again. "I've seen it all. I've been a rookie and been yelled at before, I've been 'the man,' and now I've been a guy that has been yelled at, and I've been a guy that's been deactivated," Brown said. "They're telling me it was a numbers thing, get ready for the Colts. I haven't heard, 'Chad, you can't play anymore,' that's not what they're saying to me. I don't think anybody's happy about being deactivated, but I came here with no ego, so if that's the role I need to take, that's the role I need to take." Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald also offers a similar report.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald compares the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning matchup to the Montana vs. Marino matchup of years past. Brady, 28, and Manning, 29, are in their primes. Brady is the NFL's consummate winner. Manning is arguably its best player. Brady is chasing Montana in the championship column. Manning (49 touchdown passes in 2004) has already started to pass Marino in the record books. "He's the force of that team," Brady said. "He's proven himself year-in, year-out. He's so consistent. He's one of the greatest to ever play. He sets the standard for quarterback play. He's very dependable. He's consistent. He's tough. He's a great leader."
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that Monday night's matchup is as much Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning as it is New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts. "I love watching him play and then to compete against him," Brady said of Manning. "Obviously, the quarterbacks don't compete against each other, but as a team you're competing against the team that he leads, and you're leading another team. It makes it all exciting. I think we'll all be excited to play."
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that rookie left tackle Nick Kaczur will be facing his biggest challenge this week when he matches up with Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney. Freeney has notched six sacks, which ranks him eighth in the NFL. "He's tough. We've seen him against (Jonathan) Ogden and Orlando Pace. You name it," Belichick said, referring to two of the league's top left tackles. "He has great quickness and a real good counter move. If you jump out to get him, he comes inside. He has a great repertoire of rushes. He has a tremendous motor. He's never out of the play."
Tedy Brusch was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his 10 tackle effort in Sunday's 21-16 Patriots victory over the Buffalo Bills reports Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that Patriots running back Corey Dillon, who hadn't practiced much in the previous three weeks, provided a huge lift against the Bills, rushing for 72 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in the 21-16 win. "The team needed me. I had to go in there, and I just toughed it out," Dillon said. "In situations like that, you're unsure about how you're going to perform. But once I got out there, man, believe me, I've been doing it since I was 6 years old. It's nothing. This is what I do. This is what I get paid to do. In that situation, I just had to tough it out, block out the pain. I just went in there and did the best I could do."
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that full back Patrick Pass offered an explanation of the injury that caused him to drop the football and fumble it away to the Buffalo Bills. Pass said the pain in his hamstring was worse than any he's felt on the football field. "I don't think a lot of people know how it feels," Pass said. "I wouldn't wish that on anyone. It was one of those things. Just have to watch what's going on next time." Pass was asked if he'd hold onto the ball if it happened again. "That's a good question," he said. "Let me have you hold something and then get hit in that area and see what you do. We'll see how you react to it. It felt like I got shot, felt like I got sniped. "But stuff happens, and you come in and you get worked on and you get better."
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that the stars have never been more aligned for the Colts to snap a six-game losing streak against the Patriots. The personnel is aligned for Manning to snap a career-long (seven-game) losing streak in Foxboro. The betting line is the Colts by three points over the two-time defending Super Bowl champions. "They have good receivers. They have good tight ends. They have good running backs. They have a good quarterback. They have a good offensive line. They don't give up many sacks. They don't give up many negative plays. They don't turn the ball over very much. They don't make a lot of mistakes that beat themselves," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "They must be scoring about 35 points a game in the last few weeks. When people say they're slowing down, I don't know what games they're watching. I'd like to be able to go out and average 35 points a game.
Alan Greenberg of the *Hartford Courant *writes that the Patriots could use the production of Corey Dillon in 2004 right now. In 2004, Dillon rushed for 100 or more yards in nine of his 15 starts, and the Patriots ranked seventh in rushing. Dillon's lowest yardage was 79 yards (on 19 carries) at Buffalo. By the end of the season Dillon had rushed for a franchise record 1,635 yards. In cotrast, Dillon didn't gain more than 63 yards in any of the first four games this season, averaging three yards a carry after averaging 4.7 last season.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.