EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

September 27, 2010

Burt: Schedule may be Pats biggest foe

FOXBORO — I didn't want to ruin anybody's New England Patriots football party in the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire region yesterday so I withheld some information from you.

The game didn't matter.

That's right. The Patriots' 38-30 victory over the Bills yesterday was meaningless. A borderline exhibition tilt.

The fact that Tom Brady didn't force a half-dozen passes into a triple-covered Randy Moss was nice. So were the 200 yards rushing. That was so unexpected. And the fact that yesterday the Patriots offense reminded us of the simplicity of it all, when eight to 10 players shared in the wealth, was maybe the nicest touch of all.

Other than being a nice stroke for the ego, it came against the Buffalo Bills. Basically, it was a can't-win game. The only news would have been a loss, which hasn't happened against the Bills since 2003 and wasn't going to happen in 2010.

The Patriots are 2-1, exactly where they were supposed to be as they entered the month of October.

Now everything changes. Gimmees like yesterday are too few and too far between.

It changes next week, when the Patriots play at Miami on Monday night. I hate to say the fourth game of the season is a must-win game, particularly where the Patriots have a storied history of losing, but it is.

"This week will be a great week. We got to win (down) there," said Brady, who completed 21 of 27 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. " We've got to win a meaningful game on the road. If we're going to be a good team, we've got to start winning on the road."

You can't blame players like Brady and coaches like Bill Belichick for looking ahead only at their next practice or their next game.

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