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Sports

November 13, 2006

Mangini attacks Pats at weakest point

FOXBORO - Eric Mangini called it "tweaking."



Tell that to Tom Brady's aching ribs, back, chest and arms and legs. Well, you get the point.



In a move that had to be considered absolutely Belichickian, Mangini used his bye week to develop a scheme that shook, rattled and rolled the New England offense by attacking at its heart in yesterday's 17-14 New York mugging.



Crowd the line with nine to clog the run and send linebackers at Brady from all angles.



"Tom Brady is one of the premier quarterbacks in this league," said linebacker Victor Hobson, who laid two of the most explosive hits that Brady's rib cage has absorbed since he got here. "We weren't going to stand there and let him pick us apart."



Mike Shanahan and the Broncos did it in Week 3, exposing the lack of any outside receiving help for Brady in a 17-7 domination.



Mangini went to school on it. Make the New England receivers beat you.



"We were expecting pressure all week and that is what we got," said a battered Brady, who ended the day on his behind - sitting dejected on the mud-caked pitch - the victim of a Shaun Ellis' game-ending strip sack.




"They weren't afraid to bring it this week. I just try to stand there as long as I can to make plays. You finally get one-on-one coverage on the outside. You try to give your receiver a chance to make a play. Those guys made plenty of plays . . . just not enough."



The quarterback of this Patriots dynasty was twisting facts like a million-dollar defense attorney.



His receivers, as depleted a lot as there is in the NFL, made tiny plays. Locking on one-on-one everywhere on the field, the Jets exposed them with reckless abandon.



The mediocre likes of Andre Dyson, Justin Miller, Erik Coleman and Kerry Rhodes were all alone on each of their individual islands, waiting to be stung.



And all the Pats could summon up were a pesky gnat in Reche Caldwell (9 catches, 90 yards) and a trio of Sand Fleas Jabbar Gaffney, Doug Gabriel, Chad Jackson and Troy Brown.



"To come out and hold them like we did was huge," said Rhodes, who spent much of the day completely eradicating underachieving Benjamin Watson from the game plan, again in one-on-one coverage.



"The pressure got to them a little bit. This was a big step. (Eric Mangini) put a lot on the secondary this week. We knew they'd come out and try to pound us first, so we came up and made the tackles. Then we just went after them."



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