Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe reports on the blocked field goal and tipped punt provided by the Patriots defense in the Bears game. Subplots involving kicks went the Patriots way against the Bears. Coach Bill Belichick walks you through proper punt and kick blocking techniques as he does his own players in this piece. "You want to take an angle, so that if you're at that point and you miss the ball, you don't hit the punter," Belichick said.
The Boston Globe's Mike Reiss explains that, with five games remaining in the regular season, the Patriots are in position to set a franchise record for fewest points allowed. The stingy Patriots are surrendering an average of 13.1 points per game, the second-lowest mark in the NFL behind the Bears (12.5). The New England franchise record is 14.9, which was achieved in 2004. Also included are short pieces on cornerback Asante Samuel's contract and receiver Troy Brown's future with the Patriots organization.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald reports on the long run quarterback Tom Brady had in the Bears game, where he side-stepped linebacker Brian Urlacher. Felger explains that the one-on-one matchup wasn't exactly a fair fight. Also included is a story on linebacker Junior Seau and a short piece on injured punter Josh Miller.
The Boston Herald sports staff offers a short piece comparing the 2006 injured reserve list to last season's.
Eric McHugh of The Patriot Ledger reports that the Patriots defense will need to bounce back from the loss of Seau. "A new-look starting quartet of Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel inside, flanked by Rosevelt Colvin and Tully Banta-Cain outside, will be backed up by (gulp!) a pair of veteran career special teamers (Don Davis and Larry Izzo) and a trio of unproven youngsters - second-year pro Eric Alexander and rookies Corey Mays and Pierre Woods," says McHugh.
Glen Farley of The Enterprise also reports on the loss of Seau. Included are fellow linebacker Tedy Bruschi's thoughts on Seau. "He came in and played surprisingly well. I think a lot of people might have thought he might have been 'over the hill' or he didn't have much left in the tank, but I think he proved to everybody and proved to all of us that he still had a lot of playing left," said Bruschi. Farley explains that the opening could provide Tully Banta-Cain with an opportunity to prove himself as an outside linebacker.
The Lions travel to New England to take on the Patriots this Sunday, and Glen Farley of The Enterprise reports that they haven't had a winning season since 2000. Farley talks about Lions team president Matt Millen and former quarterback Joey Harrington, who returned to Detriot to serve up a big Thanksgiving Day helping of embarrassment to the Lions in the Dolphins victory last Thursday.
Michael Parente of the Woonsocket Call reports on the Lions, as well, calling them a "sad study of futility." Parente explains that the Patriots sloppy win over Chicago should be followed up by a good old-fashioned thrashing against the Lions this weekend, and discusses former Pro-Bowl linebacker Matt Millen, who is the Lions team president and CEO. "The Motor City has reached its boiling point," says Parente. "The fans who still attend games at Ford Field often do so with paper bags over their heads to hide their shame and -- in the rare event that they're not booing -- serenade the players with chants of, 'Fire Millen!'"
The Woonsocket Call's Michael Parente reports that cornerback Asante Samuel was playing on the left side for much of the Bears game in which he nabbed three interceptions from quarterback Rex Grossman. Samuel would like to stay on the left side where he's more comfortable, but that decision's not up to him. The Patriots might not have enough depth on defense to satisfy everyone, but Belichick will consult with the players to decide who fits where for the rest of the season.
USA Today offers it's Inside Slant on the Patriots, updated yesterday.