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Patriots.com News Blitz 12/6/04

You can read game reviews from Nick Cafardoof The Boston Globe, Michael Felgerof The Boston Herald, Tom Curranof The Providence Journal, Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant, and Michael Parenteof The Woonsocket Call.

Dan Shaughnesseyof the Globe compares this Patriots team to another local dynasty from years ago: Red Auerbach's Boston Celtics of the 1960's. "They had the smartest coach and a roster of players who did everything he asked them to do," writes Shaugnessey. "They stressed team over individual achievement and they always won when it mattered."

Paul Hoynes of the Globe and George Kimballof the Herald make note of the game's opening play, a 93-yard kickoff return by Bethel Johnson, that gave the Pats an immediate 7-0 lead. "The game was only 14 seconds old, but anyone who saw the return could not be surprised by the final score: New England 42, Cleveland 15," writes Hoynes. Kimball points out the backbreaking nature of the play for a Browns team that needed to get off to a good start if they were to have any chance of staying in the game. "It's not often that the game-breaking play comes on the first touch of the football, but most everyone agreed that that's what happened yesterday," writes Kimball.

Ron Borges of the Globe reports on Browns interim coach Terry Robiskie, who was left with quite a daunting task when Butch Davis resigned earlier in the week. "Even under the best of circumstances this would have been a struggle but this was far from the best of circumstances," writes Borges. "The talent-challenged Browns had 14 players on injured reserve and were forced to start a rookie quarterback, Luke McCown, who had thrown one ball in his NFL career."

Steve Herrick of the Herald also checks in on Cleveland's coaching change, agreeing with Borges that Robiskie's promotion could not have come at a more difficult time. "The euphoria that swept this city over the departure of Butch Davis ended exactly 14 seconds into Sunday's game," writes Herrick.

Cafardo covers the day of Corey Dillon, who finished with 100 yards and two touchdowns. "In Corey Dillon's post game interview with the media yesterday, the running back indicated he hurt his leg after he had gained 98 yards in the first half, but he wanted to go back in for 2 more yards and his seventh 100-yard game this season," writes Cafardo.

Karen Guregian of the Herald also reports on Dillon, suggesting the stud back re-entered the game for the sole purpose of reaching the 100-yard mark. "In the championship world Bill Belichick has created, it always has been team before individual, never the other way around," writes Guregian. "That's why it was so bizarre to see Belichick allow Dillon to return in a blowout, just to pad those stats. At least, that's the way it looked in yesterday's 42-15 rout of the Browns."

In his notebook, Curran takes stock of the Dillon decision. "After halftime, Dillon was seen in deep conversation with both offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and head coach Bill Belichick. Soon after that, he was inserted for one carry, gained 2 yards and left," reports Curran.

Parente also surveys Dillon in his notebook, first covering yesterday's performance, and then looking ahead to this week's game. "Next up are the Bengals, for whom Dillon played eight seasons until the sour relationship ended with his being traded to New England," writes Parente. "Dillon desperately wants to be healthy for that game, but he apparently doesn't want anyone to know it."

Frank Dell'Apa of the Globe discusses another dominating performance by the Patriots defense that, just as in years past, seems to be taking its play to the next level during the stretch run.

Kevin Mannix of the Herald writes on Belichick, who insists he did not run the score up in the city where he once coached. It is no secret that Belichick's days in Cleveland were ultimately marred by classless, threatening behavior from the fickle Browns fans, though the coach was adamant that had nothing to do with the flow of the game. "There is no coach/management type in the NFL who's done a better job or is held in higher esteem than Belichick," writes Mannix. "And just so the good Clevelanders didn't forget, he gave them reason to remember, giving their current team, their rookie quarterback and their interim coach a good beating."

In his notebook, Felger reports Matt Light's self-disgust with yesterday's game, as he was dominated early by Browns end Kennard Lang. Felger also covers Dillon's fumble and another solid game from Rodney Harrison.

Kimball highlights the play of Troy Brown, who made his second career interception by picking off a Luke McCown pass in the fourth quarter. Brown's pick gives him two on the year, putting him one off the pace set by Eugene Wilson for the team lead.

Guregian puts the focus on undrafted rookie cornerback "Big Play" Randall Gay, who scooped up a Browns fumble early in the third quarter and, under the escort of Willie McGinest, took it 41 yards to the house.

Greenberg also reviews Gay's play, noting the young pup is doing a more-than-adequate job filling in for Pro-Bowler Ty Law. "Last week Gay had an interception against the Ravens, his second this season," writes Greenberg. "He won't be getting any Pro Bowl votes, but Gay, who didn't start as a senior at LSU because of a broken arm, is proving he belongs."

Herrick covers the QB's day, which was not eye-popping by any means. Tom Brady finished the day 11-20 for 157 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, before giving way to back-up Rohan Davey in the third quarter.

Jim Donaldson of the Journal asserts the Patriots are an exception to the rule of parity the league loves to exalt. "The NFL loves to proclaim that 'on any given Sunday' any team in the league can beat any other. Sorry, commissioner Tagliabue, but that's just not the case for teams that have to play the Patriots," writes Donaldson.

Also in the Journal, Curran praises the Patriots for making big plays at the start of each half, citing the Johnson return and the Gay fumble recovery. "After yesterday, it can safely be said that the Cleveland Browns do not put their best foot forward when coming out of the locker room," write Curran.

In his notebook, Ian Clark of The Union Leader reviews the game's highlights, and extends the MVP honors to the offensive line, a unit that bowled over a good Browns defensive front four for 225 total rushing yards.

Peter King of SportsIllustrated.com compares the plight of Butch Davis in the week of his resignation to that of Belichick during his tenure as Browns helmsman.

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