Patriots return from trip with bad memory Print
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Monday, 13 October 2008 13:27
NFL Headline News

 BOSTON (AP) -Spending a week practicing in California wasn't the Patriots' problem.
Playing there was.
New England absorbed one of its worst poundings Sunday since its first Super Bowl-winning season in 2001, a 30-10 rout by the San Diego Chargers. Perhaps the change in its normal routine took a toll?
Not according to coach Bill Belichick.
``I think it was the best thing we could have done for our team and I think that we had a good week of preparation,'' he said in a conference call Monday. ``I think it worked out well. I don't think that was a problem.''
The alternative would have been two coast-to-coast trips in 10 days - first for its 30-21 win at San Francisco, then back to Foxborough, then to San Diego, then another return flight to Foxborough.
The Patriots may have been fresh Sunday but seemed several steps behind most of the game.
They couldn't stop the big play, allowing three receptions of at least 48 yards. They were sluggish on offense, averaging just 4.4 yards with Tom Brady out for the season with a knee injury.
``I think that on the big plays, those handful of plays, they gained a lot more yards than they gained on the other 50,'' Belichick said. ``I don't think the competitiveness of the game was reflected in the score. We did a lot of good things but we offset it with missing some opportunities and not being able to make a few plays at the right time.''
On six plays, the Chargers gained 233 yards. On their other 49, they picked up 171.
The Patriots couldn't stop a 48-yard completion from Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson on San Diego's first offensive play or a 49-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Floyd late in the first quarter. Jackson also had a 59-yard reception, LaDainian Tomlinson gained 28 yards on a pass and 27 on a run and Antonio Gates had a 22-yard reception.
``Anytime the ball gets thrown over your head in the secondary, that's not good,'' Belichick said. ``It is every defensive back's job to keep the ball in front of them.''
New England's only gain of more than 20 yards was a 28-yard completion from Matt Cassel to Sammy Morris.
``We had some success in the running game. We had some success throwing the ball,'' Belichick said, but ``weren't able to make enough key plays in the game when we needed to. That's why the score was the way it was.''
ght tackle Nick Kaczur didn't return after injuring their right ankles in the first quarter.
As usual, Belichick provided no updates on the extent of their injuries.
``It is not the best time to make an analysis on what happened during a game,'' he said. ``Sometimes it appears to be one thing and it's something else and vice versa. We will give it a little time, have the guys come in tomorrow, get checked out and see where we are when we go out to practice on Wednesday.''
The Patriots have an extra day to prepare for Monday night's home game against Denver (4-2), which lost to Jacksonville 24-17 on Sunday.
The Jaguars won with a balanced offense - 125 yards rushing by Maurice Jones-Drew and 276 yards passing by David Garrard, who completed 25 of 34 passes.
The Patriots rushed for 106 yards as a team and Cassel was 22-for-38 and 203 yards.
``Offensively and defensively, it was a few plays that if we had played a little better, the game would have been more competitive,'' Belichick said. ``We did a lot of good things but we offset it with missing some opportunities and not being able to make a few plays at the right time.''

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