Ron Borges of the Boston Globe writes that for the second week in a row, the Patriots clung to victory with a last-second stand against a threatening opponent, defeating the surprisingly spunky New Orleans Saints, 24-17, to improve to 6-4. It was not a pretty win and it was surprisingly difficult considering the Saints are 2-8 and at or near the bottom of the league in penalties, turnovers, and red zone offense. Still, for a team decimated by injuries, to win two in a row is an accomplishment in itself, and that is what the Patriots focused on. "We made enough plays at the end to win those games," veteran tight end Christian Fauria said. "We've won two in a row. Strike up the band. In this league it's good enough to win. Obviously, this is a different team than a year ago. We're in a different situation. For us to stay competitive we cannot have mental errors, especially when you're down and out like we're supposed to be. I'm on the bench [at the end of the game yesterday as the Saints were driving toward a potential tying touchdown] thinking, 'We're in the same precarious situation as last week.' This isn't the blueprint for success, but I don't think there is a blueprint. Why can't we keep winning this way?"
Columnist Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe offers a story on Steve Belichick. Steve Belichick, an influential college football scout for decades and the father of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, died Saturday night of heart failure. He was 86. John Tomase of the Boston Herald and Tom Curran of the Providence Journal also offer articles on Steve Belichick.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots put enough pedal to metal to claim a 24-17 victory over New Orleans to post their first two-game winning streak of the season before an appreciative sellout crowd. It was an emotional day for Patriots coach Bill Belichick, whose father Steve passed away Saturday night. Belichick did not share that information with his team until his locker room postgame speech, though he acknowledged coaching the game ''with a heavy heart." "That just shows the type of man that he is, the type of coach he is," Patriots receiver Deion Branch said. "The fact that he can still focus on this game and coach the team to victory with all this lingering on his mind. It was hard, man."
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that Belichick's players didn't find out about the passing of Steve Belichick until after the Pats had finished off the Saints, 24-17. That's when owner Robert Kraft presented Belichick with a game ball and Belichick told his players that he had coached with "a heavy heart."Belichick then said a few words to the media (no questions) and was whisked away to a local airport, where Kraft's private jet was waiting to take him back to Annapolis and his mother, Jeannette.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe offers a story on Patriots wide receiver Andre' Davis. Davis was on the receiving end of a 60-yard touchdown, his second longest reception of his career and his first touchdown reception as a Patriots. The play gave New England a 21-7 lead in the third quarter and was the biggest score in the 24-17 win over the New Orleans Saints. Davis played a prominent role in the game because Patriots were without David Givens and Bethel Johnson, both inactive because of injuries. In addition, Troy Brown was active but didn't play. "I think I've always been prepared for that," said Davis. ''You can never tell in the league right now what's going to happen from week to week. And this was one of those weeks where we had a couple of guys down, so I had to make sure I was prepared and I needed to go in there and execute." Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald also offers an article on Andre' Davis.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork said he can sympathize with what coach Bill Belichick is going through in dealing with the loss of his father, Steve, who died Saturday night. Wilfork considered quitting football after both of his parents passed away, about six months apart, in 2002. "When my mother went into the hospital [after a stroke], I missed a game to go see her, and when she passed, it was right before a bowl game and I was thinking about hanging it up," Wilfork said. ''I was thinking, 'My career is over, because the two things in my life that I love the most, what I'm playing for, are gone.' Friends and coaches talked to me and basically it came down to one thing: 'If they were here today, what would they want you to do?' "
Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe writes that Benjamin Watson emerged from the three-man pack of tight ends to catch four balls yesterday in the Patriots' 24-17 win over the Saints at Gillette Stadium, after snagging three in last week's win over Miami and three more against the Colts. "It was great to be involved in the offense early, great to see the ball coming your way," Watson said. "That's always fun. That's what you go out there and play and practice for. It was good for me to be able to help the team in that way."
Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe writes that linebacker Willie McGinest totaled five tackles and one sack from his outside linebacker spot. He was credited with two passes defended and helped set a firm edge so mobile quarterback Aaron Brooks couldn't escape the pocket. His performance was one of the highlights for a defense that has returned to its bend-but-don't-break ways in recent weeks.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that the Patriots defensive backs have established some confidence and a sense of resolve in the red zone, particularly with the game on the line, as for the second time in as many weeks, they prevented a team from scoring in the closing seconds. The game ended with Eugene Wilson picking off an Aaron Brooks pass in the right corner of the end zone, the Patriots safety saving a potential game-tying score by the New Orleans Saints.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that linebacker Mike Vrabel once again displayed his talents at tight end yesterday, catching Tom Brady's second touchdown pass in the Patriots' 24-17 victory against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium. "Every time he catches a pass, it's a touchdown," Brady said. "He caught another one. It was a nice catch. It was nice having him out there." Vrabel now has six career receptions, and they're all touchdowns. He caught a 1-yard score in the back-left corner of the end zone after a 29-yard pass to Patrick Pass left the Pats on the goal line.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his analysis of the Patriots 24-17 win over the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.