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It is no surprise that most of today's news surrounds the Patriots surprising 31-3 drubbing Saturday night at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Burris of The Boston Globe writes that Coach Bill Belichick knows where to begin in picking up the pieces. "During yesterday afternoon's teleconference -- after he and the Patriots had reviewed game film -- the coach said they must work first on fundamentals," writes Burris.
Nick Cafardo of the Globe takes an optimistic approach to the blowout, writing, "the players understood how lousy they played. They understood their punishment was playing longer than had been anticipated. They understood the week ahead might not be so easy. And the fact they cared so much about losing a meaningless exhibition game spoke volumes about their professionalism."
In The Boston Herald, Kevin Mannix points out that things will get no easier for the defending champions this weekend, when they travel to play the Carolina Panthers. "If anything, the reality of seeing the defending Super Bowl champions being completely outclassed, outhustled, outperformed and outcoached by Cincinnati is even more disconcerting a day later. Particularly given what's on the horizon," writes Mannix.
Also in the Herald, Michael Felger goes inside the game with a report on the performances at the nose tackle position.
Felger also checks in on the progress of Rosevelt Colvin, who, according to Felger "showed he will need much more than a few exhibitions to get back up to speed in some areas, while other parts of his game have come back fairly quickly."
Tom Curran of The Providence Journal hopes this loss will serve as a wake-up call for the Patriots, drawing comparisons between Saturday night's game and last season's 31-0 opening-day loss in Buffalo. "In both cases, it was the Patriots playing flat, disinterested football in which they couldn't match an opponent's aggressiveness or intensity. In both cases, it was the Patriots hand-feeding a hungry team momentum and letting hostile fans go from highly interested to frenzied," says Curran.
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant expects a difficult week of practice as the team tries to get back on track. " No, it's not going to be much fun being a Patriot this week," says Greenberg.
Mike Reiss of The MetroWest Daily News goes inside the numbers to show that for the second time in three years, the Patriots run defense looks shaky. "We've been down this road before with the Patriots, whose run defense went from sour to sweet from 2002 to 2003," writes Reiss.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call picks apart the debacle in Cincinnati, finding very few positives. "The question being asked by many after this loss is whether or not the team was mentally prepared. Belichick has been questioned throughout training camp for what has been appeared to be a lackadaisical practice schedule," writes Parente.
In his Patriots notebook, Ian Clark of The Union Leader says "things can only improve."
Finally, Clark Judge of CBS.Sportsline.com tackles the Corey Dillon storyline. "In the first appearance against his former team since the Bengals traded him to the New England Patriots for a second-round draft pick, Dillon did nothing to make the Bengals or their fans regret his departure," writes Judge.