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Brady & Co. strike quickly

10/13/2003

FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) -- The New England Patriots proved that statistics don't win football games -- defense and perseverance do.

Outgained 199-29 in a first half in which they had just one
first down, the New England Patriots rallied behind Tom Brady and
Kevin Faulk and beat the New York Giants 17-6 on Sunday.

Question on the Giants: Where's this great offense that the Giants displayed late last season?
The Giants can't get anything going offensively. If they start to run the ball, Barber fumbles, and if they pass, they don't move the ball sufficiently. Offensively, they seem to be snakebitten. It may be time for coach Fassel to issue a challenge since they've done such a good job answering those challenges in the past.

Question on the Patriots: Will this team keep hanging around or will the injuries prove too costly?
They can keep hanging around as long as they keep a consistent running game. Mike Cloud and Kevin Faulk did a great job giving them the type of run support they needed to keep the Giants off-guard.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

"We're just an emotional team," said defensive tackle Richard
Seymour, who had two deflections that were turned into
interceptions and a sack that stopped what looked like a New York
touchdown drive.

"If something goes against us, we just keep coming back and
trying again on the next play. It worked out for us today."

Indeed it did on a rainy, windy day that made handling the ball
difficult. The Patriots overcame it, the Giants didn't -- New York
had five turnovers, including two on its first three plays; New
England had none

Despite that first-half dominance by the Giants (2-3), the
Patriots (4-2) actually led 7-3 at intermission, thanks to Tyrone
Poole's strip of Tiki Barber little more than two minutes into the
game. The fumble was returned 38 yards for a touchdown by
linebacker Matt Chatham, one of many backups forced to play because
of injuries.

Then the Patriots came out in the second half, scored 10 quick
points and the Giants never really got back into the game. Brady,
1-of-10 for 7 yards before intermission, was 7-of-11 for 105 yards
in the second half, including a 21-yard pass to David Givens on
third-and-16 from his own 9.

That set the Patriots on the way to their second TD, a 1-yard
run by Mike Cloud that made it 17-3 in the third quarter.

But it was almost all defense for New England, which used
Seymour and Dan Klecko on the two rookies in the middle of the
Giants' offensive line, center Wayne Lucier and right guard David
Diehl.

"Consistent," said New England linebacker Roman Phifer, a
13-year veteran. "We just wanted to be consistent and keep them
from making big plays."

It worked.

The Giants moved in the middle of the field, but couldn't do
anything when it got inside the Patriots' 25. Typical was Seymour's
sack on a second and three from the New England 11 on the second
play of the fourth quarter that kept the Giants from closing within
a touchdown -- they settled for Brett Conway's 34-yard field goal
that left New England up 17-6.

"We tried to take what they gave us," said Collins, who was
34-of-59 for 314 yards but threw four interceptions. "Several
times we called deep plays, but it just wasn't there."

Phifer said coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Romeo
Crennel had emphasized goal line defense since training camp.

"Nothing's different but our attitude," he said. "We're
communicating better and putting out 110 percent effort when a
score is on the line. We have a bend-but-don't-break attitude.
We'll give them field goals or nothing at all."

The Patriots' offense wasn't pretty, but it was reasonably
effective in the second half.

Faulk, inserted after Cloud was ineffective, ran for 40 yards on
a drive to set up a 28-yard Adam Vinatieiri field goal on the first
series of the half. Faulk finished with 14 carries for 87 yards, a
career high for the fifth-year back.

After the Brady-to-Givens play on the next drive, Brady found
David Patten for 39 yards down the sidelines. Then the Patriots
lined up and ran a quick sneak before New York could challenge,
although replay showed Patten had both feet in.

"We practice that," Brady said. "The coaches said it was
close, so we got it off before they had time to look at it."

The win was the fourth in five games for New England after being
shocked 31-0 by Buffalo in their opener. It was the second straight
loss for the Giants, who now trail Dallas by two games in the NFC
East.

"We haven't turned the ball over a lot since I've been here,"
said Fassel, who is in his seventh season as coach of the Giants.
"It just seems that when it rains, it pours."

Except that it only seemed to be raining on the Giants.
^Notes:@ Dan Klecko, New England's rookie defensive tackle, got his
first carry since high school and gained 5 yards. ... Marcellus
Rivers, New York's backup tight end, had four catches for 49 yards.
That's one fewer than the five catches he had in his first two NFL
seasons. ... Last week, New England released fullback Fred McCrary
to make room on the roster for Cloud, coming back from a four-game
suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. On Sunday,
Cloud and McCrary started together in the Patriots' backfield.

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