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Several Patriots rank well at quarter mark of season

The first quarter of the season is complete, and the New England Patriots are the only 4-0 team in the league. The fast start is due in large part to several individuals faring well among the league leaders in several categories.

The most prolific leaders for New England are wide receiver Terry Glenn and quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who have connected for more passes than any other combo in the league.

With a league-leading 32 catches in four games, Glenn is off to the fastest start of his career. In his rookie season that included 90 receptions, Glenn caught 23 passes in his first four games. The fourth-year receiver also leads the NFL in receiving yards (544) and yard from the line of scrimmage (544).

As hot as Glenn has been, Bledsoe is probably the league MVP through four weeks. He is in the top three in most quarterback categories, and he leads the league in completions (96) and passing yards (1,269). Bledsoe is second in attempts (149) and completion percentage (68.9), and he ranks third in quarterback rating (104.4).

New England's passing offense is ranked first in the league, and sixth overall. The team's rushing game is just 18th, but veteran back Terry Allen and Bledsoe are a combined 6-6 in third-and-1 rushing attempts, and Allen already has three rushing touchdowns.

While the offense ranks highly in several areas, the New England defense has made steady improvement each week. The Patriots are 12th in total defense, which is the highest it has been ranked since the eighth week of last season.

After giving up 400 yards in the opening week and 344 yards the following week, the defense has controlled both the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns. The Giants gained just 273 yards, including a paltry 57 rushing yards. The expansion Browns were even worse with 195 total yards and 61 rushing yards.

On special teams, kicker Adam Vinatieri is second in the league with 36 points (9 field goals, 9 extra points), which puts him just behind league-leader Mike Hollis of Jacksonville, who has 37 points. Punter Lee Johnson is third in the league in both average (45.7) and net yardage (40.1).

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