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Pre-Game Report

DATE:
October 14, 2001

SITE:
Foxboro Stadium (60,292) - Grass

TIME:
1:00 p.m. EDT

TELEVISON:
This week's game will be broadcast regionally on CBS (locally on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). Ian Eagle will provide the play-by-play detail and will be joined by broadcast partner Solomon Wilcots.

RADIO:
WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, now in his 25th season as voice of the Patriots, will call the action along with former Patriots center Peter Brock.

The New England Patriots (1-3) return home to host the San Diego Chargers (3-1) this week. Both teams will attempt to rebound from disappointing Week 4 road losses. The Patriots were defeated by the division-leading Miami Dolphins, 30-10, while the Chargers were dealt their first loss of the season by the upstart Cleveland Browns, 20-16.

The Patriots enter this week's game with hopes of extending their nine-game win streak against the Chargers. The Patriots hold a 16-12-2 series advantage and have not been defeated by the Chargers since Nov. 15, 1970, when the Boston Patriots hosted their AFL rival at Harvard Stadium before a crowd of 30,597. Over the last 30 years, the Patriots have outscored the Chargers 288-149, including an 86-14 advantage in their last two meetings.

The Patriots last hosted the Chargers in the 1997 season opener and scored a convincing 41-7 victory. The Patriots largest margin of victory in the series came the year before when the team rolled to a 45-7 victory at San Diego on Dec. 1, 1996.

Patriots second-year quarterback Tom Brady, 20-5 as a starter at Michigan, is now 1-1 as an NFL starter. He returns to Foxboro, where he led the Patriots to a 44-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in his NFL starting debut two weeks ago. A victory this week over the Chargers would give Brady consecutive home victories. The last time a Patriots quarterback, other than Drew Bledsoe, led the Patriots to consecutive victories at home was Hugh Millen in 1991.

The Patriots run defense will face another daunting challenge as they prepare for rookie running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Through Week 4, Tomlison leads the NFL with 412 yards rushing (104.0 per game) and is tied with a league-leading six rushing touchdowns. The Patriots, who limited Edgerrin James to just 55 yards rushing in a victory over the Colts in Week 3, are 0-3 in games that they have allowed an individual 100-yard rushing performance.

Offensively, the Patriots will face one of the league's stingiest and most opportunistic defenses. The Chargers defense is ranked fourth in the NFL, allowing just 241.3 yards per game. They have also forced a league-high 14 turnovers, including eight interceptions. Five of those interceptions have been credited to cornerback Ryan McNeil, who earned September AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors for his efforts.

Chargers quarterback Doug Flutie, a Natick native, returns to Foxboro Stadium, where he is 7-1 as a starter, including a 5-0 record as the quarterback of the Patriots (1988-89). His last two victories in Foxboro came at the controls of the Buffalo Bills in 1999 and 2000. Both games were decided by field goals in overtime.

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