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New England Patriots Links 11/09/09 - Patriots 27, Dolphins 17, Porter 00

Bill Belichick reacts to the game and talks about momentum.

That was a typical AFC East game, tough game that came right down to the wire. I'm real proud of our football players. I thought they had a good week of preparation. I thought they went out there and played hard today. Miami made some plays, we made a few more and it's good to win that one. It's a big division win. Miami is 3-0 in the division coming into this game, so that was a huge win for us. We know we have a big battle coming up next week, but right now we'll just enjoy this one for a little bit and get back to work on Indy. I thought our guys played hard today. I thought they made some big plays and made them at the right time and ultimately that was the difference.

That third quarter kind of had elements of the Indianapolis-Miami game, where Miami held the ball for a long time and the Colts came back and hit them on a couple big plays. It was sort of the same thing, where we hit Randy [Moss] on a crossing route, he broke a tackle there on [Vontae] Davis and went 60, 70 yards - whatever it was. Those plays can turn around in a hurry. Long drives can be equalized by big plays, and big plays can be equalized by long drives. We just had a couple more of them than they did, but it was a big answer by our offense. It was a third-and-five; had that pass not been complete, [we would have] give them the ball back and they got a lead and so forth. That was a big one to hit and then we hit the two-point conversion that put us up by seven, so that was huge.

Ron Borges notes the lack of panic by the Patriots D as they solved the new Wildcat wrinkle.

"Last year we panicked," safety Brandon Meriweather admitted after a 27-17 win. "We didn’t stay focused and we were all over the place. This year we were more like a veteran team. We stayed calm, listened to the coaches and let the coaches coach and the players play."

Unlike a year ago, [Bill Belichick] had wise counsel for them and they had ears to hear and confidence that this was a solvable problem. And so it became.

"We worked on the option but it happened probably a little faster than we practiced it, but once we got it adjusted I thought they did a good job," Belichick said. "It seemed like after we saw it, we were a lot more confident and did the right thing and had everybody accounted for - the inside runs, the option, the pitch and all that. . . . I think we . . . defended it a lot better."

They defended it so well that it disappeared with the game on the line, Miami declining to go to it one time in its final two drives. The gimmick was gone, the victim of a defense that didn’t panic.