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Patriots.com News Blitz 9/21/04

In The Boston Globe, Ron Borges looks back at Sunday's game and addresses sentiments that the Patriots did not play up to their potential. "That is the sign of a good team, one that can win on days when everything is not right and then recognize what just happened and understand it is not acceptable in the long term," writes Borges. "There will surely be other days when the Patriots will have to be far sharper than they were on Sunday."

Also in the Globe, Frank Dell'Appa reports there is much work to be done during the upcoming bye week. "The Patriots pulled within one game of the NFL record for consecutive victories with a 23-12 win over the Cardinals Sunday, but coach Bill Belichick was not satisfied with the team's performance," writes Dell'Appa.

In The Boston Herald, Kevin Mannix hands out his grades for each position. "In general it was not the kind of game we're used to seeing from Mr. MVP," writes Mannix. "But in hindsight, it wasn't as bad as he thought or as bad as it looked. For one important reason. When the game was in question, [Tom] Brady was at his best."

Karen Guregian of the Herald reports on Belichick, who has raised eyebrows with comments about former Patriots coach Bill Parcells. The comments appear in Michael Holley's new book, due out this week. "Belichick," writes Guregian, "spoke out against his former mentor in excerpts recently made available to the press. The book quotes Belichick as saying former Pats head coach Parcells was 'talking to other teams,' while the team was in New Orleans preparing to play the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI."

In today's notebook, Guregian highlights the excessive amount of penalties the Patriots incurred with their sloppy play. "The Patriots were assessed 12 penalties for 79 yards Sunday against Arizona. They had eight penalties for 55 yards the week before against Indianapolis. That's an average of 10 penalties per game," writes Guregian.

Greg Gatlin of the Herald reviews this past weekend's TV ratings. "Still, the defending Super Bowl champs remain the team to beat when it comes to local TV ratings," writes Gatlin.

George Kimball of the Herald says the large show of support for the Patriots on the road is emblematic of their growing iconic popularity. "Who'd have thought you'd be seeing a room full of New England caps at the sports book in Las Vegas, Patriots T-shirts in New York, or Tedy Bruschi jerseys walking down the ancient streets of Athens?" writes Kimball.

Tom Curran of The Providence Journal spotlights Mike Vrabel's savvy fake timeout call against the Cardinals. As the Cardinals kicker lined up for a field goal, Vrabel feigned a timeout call, knowing the Patriots had none to call. The result was the one he hoped for, as Neil Racker's kick missed. According to Curran, "This streak stands in part because this team uses every single advantage it can find."

Shalize Manza Young of the Journal reports that Belichick is less than pleased with the rash of penalties over the weekend. "We want to eliminate every one of them; some are really careless," Belichick told Young. "Jumping the snap count, jumping offsides, going in motion, jamming a guy too far downfield, hitting them out of bounds, that's not acceptable, and it's not good football."

In today's notebook, Young checks in on new running back Rabih Abdullah, the injury to Deion Branch, and the rotation of the offensive line.

Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant agrees that the Patriots have much to work on during their bye week.

In The MetroWest Daily News, Mike Reiss notes the Patriots unusual rotation of offensive linemen on Sunday. The team rotated players in an effort to beat the heat, risking the effects of losing continuity. "The Patriots used seven different line combinations in their first seven drives," writes Reiss.

In his notebook, Reiss writes "Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said it was too early to evaluate the leg injury suffered by wide receiver Deion Branch in Sunday's game."

In The Union Leader, Ian Clark reviews the game, deeming Corey Dillon game MVP, and notes the home-field advantage the Pats enjoyed on the road.

If you enjoy News Blitz, you might want to check out http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com/ where Bruce Allen also offers links to what the media is saying about the Patriots as well as the other Boston sports teams. Allen also includes commentary on the media and does a good job holding everyone accountable.

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