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Patriots.com News Blitz - 12/11/2007

A Boston Globe piece notes that New England tightened up its red zone defense against the Steelers. After holding the Pittsburgh without a touchdown in three red zone trips in a 34-13 victory Sunday, the Patriots moved up to 31st in the league in red zone defense. They have allowed 20 touchdowns in 31 possessions. The Dolphins are last with 28 touchdowns allowed in 43 trips.

"Defensively, we played better in the red area and the goal line, made a couple big stops there," said coach Bill Belichick. "That helped us."

The Boston Herald reports that during his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan Show," Tom Brady claimed Anthony Smith continued his ill-advised guarantee of victory into pregame warmups. Brady noted that Smith was heaving a heavy helping of trash talk his way in pregame warmups.

"He was talking before the game. He was standing there at midfield yelling at me. That was my first opportunity to kind of talk back," Brady said of his first encounter with Smith. "We always say, 'We do our talking on the field,' and that's where we do it. A lot of guys had a lot of things to say to him."

The Boston Herald writes that after two consecutive weeks of subpar performances, there was a renewed sense of confidence in the Patriots locker room following Sunday's 34-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"We played Patriots football, and this is what I'm used to playing since I've been here - going out here, not taking any crap, standing up to a big physical team like Pittsburgh," Harrison said after the game. "It's going out and doing what we do best, playing sound fundamental football."

A piece in the Providence Journal notes that Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour may still be dealing with the aftereffects of having knee surgery in the offseason. In six games, Seymour has 21 tackles (11 solo) and two quarterback hits since returning from the physically-unable-to-perform list. He noted after the game against the Steelers that he's still not playing at maximum health.

"I'm not quite 100 percent yet, but I'm working in the right direction," Seymour said.

Instead of having to find a way to motivate his awe-inducing assemblage of talent each week, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has built-in inspiration, courtesy of New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini and what has become known as Spygate according to a piece in the Boston Globe. The result has been a team that is chasing history and doing it with a record-setting romp through the league.

The Boston Herald notes that the New York Jets are taking a lesson learned from the Patriots win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. There will be no guarantees. A week after the Steelers safety ill-advisedly declared that Pittsburgh would beat the Patriots, only to see the Pats win in a landslide, Jets players steered clear of any such proclamations.

"You don't have to worry about anyone in this locker room saying anything that can be used as bulletin board material," Jets receiver Laveranues Coles said. "That's just not us. It's not this locker room. We keep a tight hold on guys to let them know not to step out of line."

The Boston Herald notes that this Sunday's matchup against the New York Jets is a game that means nothing and everything all at once, a showdown that has no bearing on the playoff race but might be the most anticipated game of the regular season.

Quick Hits

  • The Providence Journal offers a piece on Patriots wide receiver Chad Jackson, who saw extended action returning kickoffs against the Steelers on Sunday.
  • The Boston Globe's Patriots blog takes a look at the snaps played by Patriots defensive players against the Steelers as well as the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots' offense in Sunday's win.
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