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Patriots.com News Blitz - 12/30/2011

Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe writes about the Patriots ability to pile up "YAC" or yards after catch. The Patriots lead the league in YAC with 2,483 (the Saints are second with 2,295). The best example came early in the Patriots season. On a 99-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in Week 1, Wes Welker was able to shed defenders on his way to 89 yards after the catch. "The greatest feeling in the world is getting extra yards during a play,'' said Patriots running back Kevin Faulk. "Because the play is blocked to get you so many yards, and after that it's all on you. And there's usually one guy unblocked every time that you have to make miss.''

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald writes about the reports that Tom Brady would not practice yesterday, which ended in Brady practicing. It was reported by multiple sources that Brady would not practice due to a left shoulder injury. Around 1:15 P.M., Brady was on the field throwing passes both long and short. The day ended with Brady being listed as a limited participant in practice with a left shoulder injury.

Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe writes about how defensive co-captain Vince Wilfork is approaching this Sunday's game against Buffalo after losing to the Bills in Week 3. "We owe them one," said Wilfork. "They beat us earlier in the year. I'm pretty sure they're riding high. They haven't been beating us a lot lately, but I'm sure it would feel good for them to come in and sweep us. Regardless of the records, to be able to sweep a division rival is pretty sweet. I'm pretty sure they're coming in here thinking they have a real good shot."

Sam Farmer of the LA Times gives a unique look into the rise of Matthew Slater to his current Pro Bowl status. The former UCLA Bruin and current Patriot plays on offense, defense and special teams for the Patriots. "The first day in this building they gave me two playbooks," Slater said in a phone interview Thursday. "There was no, 'We'll give you one, then we'll give you the other.' It was, 'Here's both.' I felt like I was in a graduate studies program, making flash cards and everything."

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com looks at the final games of each season in the Bill Belichick era. Since 2000 the Patriots are 8-3 in season finale's since Belichick took over. Most notable games include the "Lawyer Milloy Bowl", the Dropkick for Doug Flutie game, a Super Bowl preview against the Giants, and Wes Welker tearing his ACL.

Jeff Howe of NESN.com writes about the Patriots recent string of outdoor practices to help the team get acclimated with the cold weather that has finally reached Foxboro. "This is like the weirdest winter, if you want to call it that, that it's this late in the season, and we haven't gotten any snow and it's just starting to get cold," Patriots safety James Ihedigbo said. "Just take it as it comes, and deal with it. Now that we're practicing in the cold, it's good for us."

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