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Patriots.com News Blitz - 11/29/05

Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots remain atop the AFC East and with five games remaining the playoff talks begin. If, as expected, the Patriots dispose of the 2-9 Jets Sunday at Gillette, they could clinch the division crown the following week in Buffalo. If Miami (4-7) loses to Buffalo (4-7) this week, then falls at San Diego, where it should be a heavy underdog, the Patriots could wrap up at least a share of the crown by beating the Bills. And with two wins in that season series, the Patriots could take the final three weeks off, finish 8-8 and still be champions.

Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe writes that though the Patriots secondary isn't exactly clamping down on receivers, they shouldn't shield all of the blame for the Patriots poor pass defense. Benjamin points to the lack of a pass rush, which in recent years has confused quarterbacks into bad decisions and bad throws. Whether the poor pass rush has hampered the secondary or the just-off-the-street secondary has hampered the pass rush is open for debate. Either way, the team clearly needs to improve its pressure on the quarterback. "I think we need to get a lot more," said Colvin, who is tied with Willie McGinest for the team lead with just 3 1/2 sacks. ''But rushing the passer and covering receivers go hand in hand. The big thing we need to work on is team defense. If the rush gets there, that helps the guys that are covering, because they don't have to cover as long."

Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News writes that the Patriots defense has problems that simply can't be solved without a full, healthy offseason. The defense can get better, sure, because there isn't a whole lot of room to get worse. How much better? That's hard to say. Rodney Harrison isn't coming back. Neither is Tyrone Poole, Randall Gay, or Chad Scott. So the defense that got torched for 420 yards Sunday is the group the Patriots will go forward with. "I think we all have to look at our games individually, and I'd start with myself, as far as getting better as a football player in general," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi, "That's a start. I think just defensively as a whole, the bottom line with us is we want to keep points off the board."

Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers his weekly Patriots report card. Felger awarded a failing grade(F) to the coaching staff for the poor game plan and lack of adjustments during the game. The only above average grade that Felger awards is a B for the play of the Patriots special teams.

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that the Kansas City Chiefs scored on all of their possessions in the first half Sunday. Tom Brady played poorly, but the flogging he took after Sunday's game is testament to how brilliant a normal Tom Brady Sunday is. The Patriots' offense is sloppy and inconsistent right now, but at least there is hope for improvement as Matt Light, Kevin Faulk and Corey Dillon all convalesce.

Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe writes that after linebacker tedy Bruschi missed a few tackles -- most notably on Larry Johnson -- in the first half, Monty Beisel and Chad Brown got to see increased time at inside linebacker alongside Mike Vrabel. Beisel and Brown estimated they spent five to six plays at the position, more than they had in the past few weeks. Brown said his time mostly came on third downs. "We've got good players," Bruschi said. "Monty played a little more, Chad played a little more, and that's just the way it went." Despite that, Bruschi led the Patriots in tackles for the first time since returning to the lineup, piling up nine total (eight solo). Beisel had two in his limited time on the field. Brown did not record a stop. "There's nothing personally going on with Tedy," said coach Bill Belichick. "That's the way the situation came up in the game. That's the way the rotation was set up. Got to spread it out."

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his analysis of the Patriots 26-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant writes that the Chiefs, who led 26-3 before the Patriots awakened late in the third quarter, racked up 420 yards of offense, doing what has come naturally for Patriots opponents. The Patriots have allowed 400 or more yards in seven of the last eight games. The exception was the Bills, who gained only 394 in a 21-16 loss Oct. 30. "I'm not going to analyze our performance when I haven't seen the tape," Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel said. "But the bottom line is, you can't wait that long to get going. You can't not make them punt in the first half."

Steve Krasner of the Providence Journal writes that twenty-four hours did nothing to heal the wounds inflicted on the New England Patriots by the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium. Bill Belichick met with media yesterday in the wake of Sunday's 26-16 defeat that was worse than the score indicated. Belichick was even more reticent about answering questions and providing insights than normal, and that's saying a lot for the taciturn coach who has guided the Patriots to three Super Bowl triumphs over the previous four seasons. "Even though there were some positives along the way, there were certainly too few of them, and too few of them early to really make it competitive enough and to really give ourselves a chance [to win] at the end. We just have to find a way to play better than that. Play better and coach better, just do a better job," said Belichick.

Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant writes that after their 26-16 loss to the Chiefs Sunday in Kansas City, the two-time defending Super Bowl champions have a 6-5 record, eighth-best of the AFC's 16 teams. Fortunately for the Patriots, who are 2-5 against teams with winning records, four of the AFC's six postseason berths are reserved for the division champions, regardless of record. And the Patriots, the only .500 team in the AFC East, should win their division, barring a collapse.

Steve Weiberg of USA Today writes that Kansas City Chiefs Safety Greg Wesley intercepted three Tom Brady passes, Sammy Knight picked off a fourth, and Larry Johnson delivered his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game as the Chiefs defeated the Patriots.

Paul Kenyon of the Providence Journal offers a story on former Patriots Football Weekly editor, Bryan Morry. Morry now co-hosts an afternoon sports radio show on WSKO with Scott Cordischi weekdays from 3 - 7 p.m. " I'm just learning the radio business," Morry said. "I think we're a caller-friendly program. Do the linsteners want to hear good guests? Do they want to hear the hosts? Or other callers? Probably a little bit of everything. That's what we're trying to do."

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes. Reiss also offers his latest mailbag where he answers your questions.

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.

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