Belichick's troops move above .500 [8:47 AM]
orcester Telegram and Gazette reports: 'It's been 27 games since the Patriots have had a winning record.'
Smith runs for 2 scores against his former team [8:46 AM]
Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports: '"He was very excited," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. "You could tell this morning when he walked in. It was good to hear some words out of his mouth. He really wanted to make an impression."'
He broke his silence - and some tackles, too [8:44 AM]
Portland Press Herald reports: 'The Patriots beat the Bills 21-11, and it was a messy, ugly game that has become typical when these division rivals meet. Tom Brady was sacked seven times, fumbled twice and was intercepted once. The young quarterback, who appeared so poised before the team left for three games on the road, now looked like a young quarterback playing in only his seventh game in the NFL. Which, of course, is exactly what Tom Brady is.'
Antowain Smith Post-Game Press Conference [6:47 AM]
Patriots.com reports: 'Q: What did your former teammates say to you after the game? AS: They wished me luck. 'Good game, stay healthy,' and they'll see me when we come to Buffalo. Q: It was all vanilla? AS: Yeah, because I had a good relationship with the players on the team. We always bonded. So they wished me well and I wished them well and stay healthy for the rest of the season and I'll see them in Buffalo.'
Patriots turn back Bills [6:44 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'In fact, if one looks closely, the Bills look very much like the Patriots - last season's Patriots, that is.'
Buffalo sees Smith succeed [6:43 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: '"I feel good," said Smith, who played four seasons with Buffalo before signing with New England in the off-season. "We got the win, that's the main thing. It also helped that I had a pretty good performance out there."'
Buffalo is better than 1-7 [6:42 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'They aren't the Marv Levy-Jim Kelly Buffalo Bills. They aren't even the Wade Phillips-Doug Flutie Buffalo Bills. Even so, the team that squared off against the New England Patriots yesterday at Foxboro Stadium proved just as blue-collar tough as those more successful Buffalo teams of recent times.'
One more way to lose [5:53 AM]
D and C reports: 'Should have, could have, would have. That has been the ongoing story of this dreadful season for the Bills.'
Was Pats' game Rob's last stand? [5:52 AM]
D and C reports: 'If Rob Johnson's right clavicle is indeed broken, he will not be playing football for the Buffalo Bills the rest of the season. Now the question is, will he ever play for the Bills again? If it were my call, the answer would be no.'
Ouch! Those growing pains hurt [5:51 AM]
D and C reports: '"The defense played well enough to keep us in this ballgame, but we need to play better as a TEAM," coach Gregg Williams said. "We find new ways each week to (lose)."'
Buffalo Bills report card [5:50 AM]
D and C reports: 'Another uninspiring effort by Rob Johnson, who converted just 2 of 12 third downs against Bill Belichick's defense and was sacked five times (most his fault). Left the game with a serious shoulder injury with 4:17 left so you win the office pool if you picked eight starts as the number of games he would last. D+'
Positive Charge [5:50 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''We got lucky today,'' said Patriots receiver Troy Brown. ''That's a pretty good football team.'' Brown's comments may be a stretch, because the Bills are far from good. And the Patriots weren't ''lucky'' all the time, at times they were good.''
A winner in the long run [5:49 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''He was very excited. You could tell this morning when he walked in,'' said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who handed the ball to Smith 20 times and watched as he gained 100 yards, the final 42 of which locked up a 21-11 victory at Foxboro Stadium. ''He really wanted to make an impression. He came out and ran hard - he always runs hard - even there at the end, he was real excited to break that one off.'''
The stat that matters goes in Brady's favor [5:48 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'He lost the ball, he lost great gulps of yardage, he lost a bushel of points from his quarterback rating yesterday at Foxboro Stadium. But he didn't lose the game.'
Defense shows mettle in this performance [5:47 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The Bills finished a borderline morose 2 for 12 (17 percent) on third-down attempts. They totaled only 68 yards rushing and a barely respectable 173 net yards in the air. On an afternoon when neither side showed the ability or inclination to control play, it was the New England defense that did the better job of surviving along the breakdown line on the south side of Route 1.'
Many are taking hits for Johnson decision [5:47 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'To prevent that condition from continuing, the Bills installed the West Coast offense in Buffalo this summer, hoping to help Johnson get rid of the ball quicker and hence reduce his sacks and his injuries. Unfortunately for the Bills, by then Buffalo's offense already had left for the West Coast.'
Bledsoe may be set to go [5:46 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The Patriots are expected to announce within two days that quarterback Drew Bledsoe has been cleared by the medical staff to play Sunday night against the Rams.'
Game will be Ram tough [5:45 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''If we don't control the ball on offense and hold on to it, you don't want to put our defense in position to be on the field that long against that team. We're on a roll right now. It feels great to be over .500 finally, but we have to play better than we did [today]."'
It wasn't too pretty, but Pats will take it [5:44 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '"We lacked the consistency we'd really like to have, but you have to recognize Buffalo (1-7) has a much better team than their record indicates," said the coach. "We've had games like this where we've had lapses and mistakes and lost. It's good to get one."'
Corner breaks Mould [5:43 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Battling an All-Pro wide receiver mano-a-mano has always been a welcome challenge for Patriots cornerback Ty Law. Buffalo Bills wide receiver Eric Moulds, a two-time All-Pro, has resided in the top strata of the NFL's pass catchers since breaking into the league in 1996. Decision: Law.'
Smith pads our account [5:42 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Shake the hand of the big man - Antowain Smith.'
Brady takes his medicine [5:42 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'For those interested in how the upstart quarterback came back to earth after impressively leading the Pats to a 4-2 record in relief of the injured Drew Bledsoe, Brady did not make excuses for a performance during which he was sacked seven times and fumbled twice.'
Long day for Johnson [5:41 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '"We didn't help him out," said receiver Eric Moulds, referring in part to the Bills' continued propensity for penalties, especially in the red zone. "I told the guys that we have to help him out in some way. But we keep going backwards, and I don't know what it is. We don't have any identity as a team right now. And we haven't given Rob an opportunity to look over the defense the way he has to if we're going to have a chance."'
Drew close to return [5:39 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The wind was a huge factor, and kicking the ball to the north end zone was hazardous, as Buffalo punter Brian Moorman (kicks of 12 and 20 yards) will attest. Pats kicker Adam Vinatieri, who came into the game having made 13-of-14 field goals, missed twice (from 43 and 45 yards) into the wind.'
Cashing in on Bills [5:38 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Playing against a team that is just 1-7 on the season, the Pats did not make it easy on themselves. Their turnovers included two (one interception, one huge fumble late in the game) by quarterback Tom Brady. The seven penalties against the Pats cost them 75 yards. The injury-riddled offensive line yielded seven sacks. Adam Vinatieri missed field-goal attempts from 43 and 45 yards, one wide right, the other wide left. "Certainly, it was a game that we had mistakes," acknowledged Pats coach Bill Belichick.'
Bills have momentum but it's all going downhill [5:37 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'A one-time AFC powerhouse, the Bills have slowly slipped into a football world western New Yorkers aren't very familiar with. The Bills basically don't matter this year.'
Pats' surging defense keys for major test against potent Rams [5:36 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The Pats had five sacks, giving them 14 in their last two games.'
Pats over .500 constitutes real progress [5:35 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Even though they weren't all that good, they were good enough.'
Smith found high gear when needed the most [5:34 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Smith enjoyed his day, no doubt about that. Not surprisingly, there were a lot of comments back and forth with some of his old friends during the course of the afternoon. "Yeah, they were saying, 'Not in here today . . . Don't run that stuff over here,' " Smith related. "Jay Foreman (linebacker) and Pat Williams (defensive line) were doing most of the talking." Did Smith talk back? "Of course," he said. "I can't let them think they've scared me. I just told them, 'I'll be back the next play all game long.'"'
Wounded offensive line bands together [5:33 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'When an NFL team allows seven sacks in a game, it normally means the offensive line had a bad day. It happened yesterday to the Patriots and, while no one was happy about it, no one was critical, either.'
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