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Patriots.com News Blitz - 11/20/2006

The Boston Globe's Mike Reiss reports that "nose tackle Vince Wilfork wanted to challenge a few of his teammates last week, so he ordered a wrestling bell and brought it to Lambeau Field yesterday." Reiss explains that Wilfork asked his fellow defensive linemen, "Who's going to answer the bell when the brawl begins?" Wilfork explained to his comrades that the bell would go to the lineman with the best performance. The bell went to Ty Warren, but Reiss goes on to explain why the game was a "45-bell effort, with each player on the game-day roster doing his part."

John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that "In a matchup akin to hunting squirrels with cruise missiles, the Patriots obliterated the Packers in the House that Lombardi Built." Tomase writes on the game's unfolding and explains that the Pats snapped their first losing streak in four years at two games. "It's not like we won the Super Bowl," said defensive end Richard Seymour, "but it feels good because we haven't had this feeling in a long time."

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald reports that quarterback Tom Brady played well against the Packers, posting four touchdowns and no interceptions while covering 244 yards through the air. In two games against NFC North opponents, Brady is 49-for-74 (a completion percentage of 66.2) for 616 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.

Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe wonders if the Pats-Packers game actually went down yesterday and how it could possibly have been that easy. Ryan says, "Sorry, Coach Bill. I know how much public respect you always show your opponents, but you cannot tell me you ever thought for one millisecond this game would proceed in such a one-sided manner. Your team took control on the first play, and there wasn't one possession in which Green Bay had even a faint sniff of the W."

Jeffrey Zampanti, a Boston Globe Correspondent reports on quarterback Brett Favre, who was injured in the first half of yesterday's game against the Patriots. "For a player who has created so many memorable moments over the past 16 seasons, Favre delivered a truly forgettable first half capped off with an elbow injury that could put his record 231 consecutive starts (251 including playoffs) in jeopardy," writes Zampanti. Packers coach Mike McCarthy explained that Favre took a shot on his elbow and was not able to gain strength in his hand. Linebackers Tully Banta-Cain and Tedy Bruschi sacked Favre when he was injured.

Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe reports on the Patriots tight ends, Benjamin Watson and Daniel Graham. Both of them played excellent games yesterday against Green Bay, with Graham scoring the first touchdown of the game and Watson leading the team with 5 receptions for 74 yards.

Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers analysis of the Patriots offense, including a passing game which showcased the tight ends. Wide receiver Reche Caldwell had a 54-yard catch-and-run that was the Pats biggest pass play of the season. "Our offensive coordinator did a good job of putting us in a position to make plays," said Caldwell. "He knew when we went to that bunch formation (on the scoring play) that that would put me one-on-one with a safety, and if I can't beat a safety one-on-one I shouldn't be in the league."

Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe reports that quarterback Tom Brady looked a little different at the end of this game than he did after the Jets game. He wasn't caked with mud. That's because his pass protection was solid throughout the game. "I don't think there was something we had to do different," center Dan Koppen said, referring to the Patriots' two straight losses, in which Brady was sacked four times by the Jets and hurried and knocked down multiple times in both games. "We just had to do it better, give him more time to throw it and make his reads, give him a chance to make plays." Brady praised his line in his postgame press conference.

The Boston Globe's Joe Sullivan reports that the Patriots defense was outstanding against the Packers. Lambeau Field is basically unchanged over the last 50 years, but the score board is modernized, offering not just the score, but also the rushing yards, passing yards, and total yards for each team. "Yeah, I noticed that," said Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin. "I looked up and saw 77 and I thought that was the rushing yards we had given up. Turned out it was passing." Needless to day, the Patriots defense dominated in the shutout.

Michael Felger of the Boston Herald reports on Patriots linebacker/short-yardage tight end Mike Vrabel. Vrabel had a chance at a touchdown reception yesterday, but the stars weren't aligned properly for that. Yes, Brady (Michigan) had Vrabel (Ohio State) wide open for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game, but the rivalry seemed to get the best of these two teammates. "I just think he wanted to throw it 5 yards into the stands over what happened on Saturday," said Vrabel, referring to the top-ranked Buckeyes' 42-39 win over the No. 2 Wolverines. Added Brady with a smile: "Not this week. I really tried to throw that thing away."

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald reports on Richard Seymour, who was fined recently for stepping on the head of Colts tackle Tarik Glenn. Seymour did nothing to dispel the story, and spoke candidly about the incident yesterday. "When you play the game, you sometimes do things that are uncharacteristic and you wish you could take it back," said Seymour. "I stepped on him when he cut me (with a block below the knees). I wouldn't do it again. I take full responsibility. It's something I definitely wouldn't appeal. It's something I did."

Jim McCabe of The Boston Globe takes a trip to Wisconsin's oldest city for a slice of true Americana. Green Bay, with a population of 102,313 is the ultimate "small-market" team. Publicly owned by 111,967 stockholders, the Packers are a franchise steeped in tradition. McCabe argues that "Lambeau Field is a shrine, even more so than Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, because unlike those destination points, there is a Packer Hall of Fame inside the facility that pays homage to 134 players and team officials. More than 100,000 visitors annually visit the Hall, which opened in 1957 and is part of the third-oldest continually active home field in pro sports, behind Fenway (1912) and Wrigley (1914)." Included are anecdotes from the trip.

Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal reports on the game between the Pats and the Packers, saying "Just your average victory wouldn't have satisfied the New England Patriots Sunday." For New England, it was its seventh straight regular-season road victory, and its first road shutout in 20 years.

Shalise Manza Young of The Providence Journal offers her thoughts on the key play of the game. It was a fourth-down touchdown pass to Daniel Graham. "It was play-action and Dan did a great job of getting through there and finding the hole," Brady said. "He made a big catch, fourth-and-one. It's nice to score on the opening drive. It really kind of deflates the crowd a bit." The Pats never looked back after that first drive and the Packers never answered with even a single point.

The Hartford Courant's Alan Greenberg reports that the Patriots defense limited Green Bay to five first downs. Moreover, they got the job done without three of the four starters in the secondary. The Packers only converted one of 13 third downs.

Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle reports that the Patriots secondary played well in the game, despite being short-handed. Farinella checked in with a couple members of the secondary after the game.

Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant offers short facts and thoughts on the game. He talks about the game's turning point, and offers quotes, notes and information on injuries.

Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports on the Patriots defense, which was first rate when it came to third-down stops. The defense had serious problems getting the Colts, who converted at 50 percent, and the Jets, who checked in at 46.2 percent, off the field on third down the last two weeks. There were no such issues with Green Bay, which was 1 for 13 in those situations for a "success" rate of 8 percent.

The *Worcester Telegram & Gazette's *Rich Garven reports on defensive ends Richard Seymour and Ty Warren, both of whom played tough yesterday after the Jets game raised concerns about the defensive line. An ineffective Seymour, hindered by a heavily wrapped left elbow, was essentially benched during the second half of the loss to New York. An injured Warren sat out, his consecutive starts streak ending at 40 regular-season games. There was no such problem with either defensive lineman yesterday as they looked terrific while helping the Patriots snap a two-game slide.

Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle reports that the Patriots have become the "Road Warriors" of the NFL. Leaving nothing to chance by knocking Brett Favre out of his 231st consecutive start before halftime, the Patriots improved to 7-3 Sunday by clobbering the 4-6 Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, 35-0.

Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call reports on quarterback Tom Brady, who Parente says "got his wish Sunday after a flawless performance against the Packers." Brady didn't have to talk about his health, or answer questions about the possible demise of the team. Instead, he had his best game in nearly a month.

Don't forget to check out USA Today's Inside Slant to check back on problems facing the Patriots as they entered yesterday's game.

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