EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Patriots

November 26, 2007

Winning ugly makes pit stop in Foxboro

FOXBORO - Not even a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown just 1:22 into the game could change the obvious.



They appeared tired and they appeared bored, on both sides of the ball. And, quite frankly, even if it was a Sunday Night Football game on national TV, you can't blame the New England Patriots. Even if they would disagree with either assessment.



This season has been an emotional one from opening day - be it "spygate" or "running up the score" - to the incredible win in Indianapolis. The "Hatriots," as America has labeled them, deserve a do-over.



Sounds like an excuse, doesn't it, especially with December less than a week away?



The other teams are getting paid $100 million or so per season too. And some of these teams, like the Eagles, apparently aren't that bad.



"They have three defensive backs that have been in a Pro Bowl," said Patriots safety Rodney Harrison. "They've been to a Super Bowl. I don't care what your expectations are."



The Eagles did something few teams have tried against the Patriots. They went for the jugular.



They tried an onsides kick after their second touchdown only 2:10 into the second quarter. And it worked. They soon punted, but the message was clear. They were not going to sit idly by as the Patriots scored six or seven touchdowns.



The Eagles brought with them something seen a lot of in Foxboro - chips on their collective shoulder. The Las Vegas line, normally taboo in NFL locker rooms, was talked about indirectly all week in Philadelphia. The Patriots were favored by 24 points, tied for the most ever for an NFL game.



Eagles coach Andy Reid was very short with the New England media on Wednesday. Most of his answers took only one sentence.



"We're a good team. We know we're a good team," said Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown. "We heard some things (about the odds). But that doesn't matter."



The Eagles also came in with a game plan the Patriots hadn't seen. Basically, Randy Moss was not going to beat them. At all times there was a safety waiting as much as 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage, always on Moss' side.



"This goes back to when Randy was with Minnesota," said Brown. "You have to keep him in front of you. Other than that one time (Moss dropped a long Brady bomb), we did a pretty good job. They usually like to dink and dunk with him early and then they look for that one opportunity."



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