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Patriots.com News Blitz - 11/28/2006

Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe reports that Junior Seau is out for the season, discussing Seau's career and his time with New England. Seau's absence may open the door for one of the Pats backup linebackers like Don Davis, Larry Izzo, Eric Alexander, Corey Mays or Pierre Woods. The Pats may also opt for their less-used 4-3 defense until a suitable replacement has proven himself.

Boston Herald writer John Tomase also discusses the loss of Seau, reporting that a source close to Seau confirmed he broke both bones in his right forearm while tackling Chicago's Cedric Benson and could have surgery as soon as today.

In a related article, Albert Breer of the Boston Herald explains potential contingency plans that could be put in place now that Seau is out.

The Providence Journal's Shalise Manza Young reports on Seau's injury and offers a few of Belichick's insights on the Bears game after having seen the game film.

Hartford Courant writer Alan Greenberg reports on Seau's injury and includes thoughts from fellow linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "Junior is a big loss," Bruschi said. "To seem him go down like that, it hurts the team. In the locker room, as a teammate, he's going to be missed greatly." Greenberg also reviews the Bears game.

The Boston Globe's Christopher Gasper offers a piece on the Patriots kickers, newly acquired Ken Walter (punter) and rookie Stephen Gostkowski (kicker). Belichick said yesterday that he's pleased with the way both of them performed against the Bears. The coach also said he didn't think the 52-yard kick Gostkowski booted in the closing seconds of the first half would have been makable if the old sod was still at Gillette Stadium. "You might be able to get it there, but getting it through, I don't know what the odds are," Belichick said. "It would be tough sledding." Also included are notes.

The Boston Herald's John Tomase explains that the Patriots are almost certainly headed to the playoffs, and walks you through what it would take for the Patriots to earn a first-round bye. "Your games at the end of November and December are critical, provided you're in position for them to count," coach Belichick said yesterday. "For all the teams in the thick of it here at this point regardless of what their record is, these are the games that are really going to decide who is standing at the end."

The Boston Herald's Michael Felger offers his Patriots report card on the Bears game. Felger gives Brady an A, but wonders whether turnovers will haunt the Pats in January.

[Ian Clark ](http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Patriots Report Card: Winning ugly is still winning&articleId=1fb18272-7369-4ffc-9c2a-2453119e36ee)of The Union Leader offers his Patriots report card, which breaks down the Bears game position-by-position. Clark liked what he saw from the Pats offensive line, but the running backs didn't make the grade from his perspective.

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald reports on the Patriots defense, which has been putting out championship-caliber performances. "For all of the talk centered on defensive units like that of the Chicago Bears this season, the ultimate difference between the Bears and Pats is relatively miniscule," says Massarotti. The Patriots defense has only allowed 13 touchdowns this season.

Providence Journal writer Shalise Manza Young also discusses the Pats defense, which is one of the NFL's best, though Belichick didn't want to discuss statistics yesterday. Manza Young wonders if injuries in the secondary last season helped prepare the defense for such losses this year. While Rodney Harrison, Chad Scott, Tyrone Poole, Duane Starks and Randall Gay were injured last season, Artrell Hawkins, Ellis Hobbs and James Sanders saw their playing time increase. Things haven't missed a beat this season though the secondary has been hit by another rash of injuries.

The Boston Herald held it's weekly public pole to select a Player of the Game, and this week's winner was none other than interception ace Asante Samuel, who garnered 83 percent of the votes.

Glen Farley of The Enterprise reports on the Bears game, which included nine turnovers. Farley discusses the Pats standings as well as Asante Samuel's three interceptions. "The good thing," said fullback Heath Evans, "is we're not playing anywhere near what we're capable of."

Jim Fenton of The Enterprise features Benjamin Watson, whose first half against the Bears was one he'd probably rather forget. He picked a good time to turn things around, however, and had three passes for 47 yards in the Pats fourth-quarter touchdown drive, including the touchdown itself. "I made some mistakes early on, and I am just thankful for the chance to come back and make amends for them," said Watson. "You never want to makes mistakes. It does a lot (confidence-wise) to keep getting thrown to. "I told Tom, 'Thank you for coming back to me. Thanks for throwing the ball back to me, even though I made some mistakes.'"

The Press Herald offers an Associated Press piece about Seau's injury, which also includes talk on the upcoming Detroit Lions game.

USA Today offers its Inside Slant on the Patriots, updated today.

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