"Put it on me,'' he said over the cell phone on his way home from Foxboro on Sunday evening. "That's where I want it -- on me.'' You asked for it, you got it. We talked for maybe 15 minutes, and I'd have thought he'd be exasperated by a few things -- Moss, how poorly they were playing across the board the last month, the fourth-down-conversion problems, the Adalius Thomas fiasco. But no. Brady was ridiculously optimistic. "It's like a heavyweight fight,'' he said. "A boxing match. We just gotta keep fighting. We're not the same team as we were last year or the year before, but I haven't lost faith in us at all. It's just that our margin of error is so small.'' Whereas in 2007, Brady had a couple of professional receivers, Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney, as his third and fourth wideouts after Moss and Welker, now he's got the green Aiken and Julian Edelman (who's been hurt consistently).
New England's 8-5, a game ahead of the Jets and Dolphins, with the Bills, Jags and Texans on the schedule to finish up. Not too hard, not too easy for the old Patriots, but for these Patriots, where everything comes hard? "We're 7-0 at home,'' Brady said. "We just put up 470 yards of offense against a good defense in Miami. We got the best coach in history. Shoot, once the playoffs start, if we're fortunate enough to make them, anything can happen. We were 18-0 and didn't win the Super Bowl. You never know. Don't lose faith in us.'' When I got off the phone with him, I thought: That's what he's going to say to his team this week.
Yeah, I mean, it's frustrating as a player when you're - you know, he was frustrated in himself and the situation and it's just something you've got to fight through. He keeps fighting through it and you have those days where it's not all great, but you keep lining up and you keep going up. You've just got to keep fighting. I think that's the message I always try to convey to everybody. I mean, if you're a quarterback, you throw picks, you throw bad balls. If you're a receiver, you drop balls. If you're a running back, you fumble balls. You know, it's just part of the process and it's about making the next one a good one and not making the next one another bad one because you're a little bit down in the dumps.
- Game Notes: Patriots vs. Panthers. Team and player milestones reached and records set.
Post Game Pressers: Bill Belichick (7:02 min.), Tom Brady (6:09 min.), Wes Welker (5:15 min.) Plus Transcripts.
- Post Game Quotes: Patriots and Panthers.
- Erik Scalavino notes the Patriots owned the second half for a change.
Erik Scalavino Derrick Burgess discusses his Wednesday dismissal, plus Friday notes from Gillette.
- Adam Kilgore recaps Sundays win over the Panthers, and the Welker hit that resuscitated the lifeless Patriots out of their first half stupor.
- Ian Rapoport says the Patriots dug out in time, bouncing back from a distracting week to win.
- Shalise Manza Young writes that this Patriots team still has a lot of questions despite the 20-10 win.
- Mike Reiss focuses on the spirited play of Wes Welker.
- Karen Guregian notes Wes Welker called out his teammates last week backing it up on the field with a stellar performance.
- Albert Breer reports Wes Welker was spectacular again on Sunday -his 10 catches for 105 yards accounting for more than half of Brady's 192 passing yards.
- Jim Donaldson concurrs that Wes Welker is a producer on the field and an inspiration to his teammates.
Steve Buckley lauds Kevin Faulk for his fired-up play on the field and for
slapping the team sillythe pep-talk that sparked the team at half-time.
- Christopher Price lists his ten things we learned from yesterday's win.
- Bob Ryan concludes the days of style points are gone. They're all going to be like this from now on.
- Dan Ventura calls the Ben Watson TD the play of the game, as the play to the TE in the end zone was a change from an entire drive that toggled between passes to Welker and handoffs to Maroney and Faulk.
- Adam Kilgore gauges the effect of Bill Belichick's discipline in today's Patriots victory.
- Chris Forsberg notes that after laboring through the first half, Brady was proud of his team's resilience.
- Albert Breer talks about Randy Moss shutting it down yesterday.
- Mike Reiss reports Tom Brady defends Randy Moss. Good for you Tom.
- Ron Borges massacres Moss for his M.I.A. act, and lists his Bests and Worsts from Sunday.
- Adam Kilgore notes Shawn Springs was back in action.
- Monique Walker says Brady was on a quest for his teammates yesterday, challenging them to focus and keeping them from being frustrated.
- Albert Breer offers five quick hits to wrap up the victory.
- Mike Reiss lists his Who's Up and Who's Down from Sunday's win.
Boston Globe Patriots Notebook: Personnel shifts on defense helped the Patriots hold the Panthers to the third fewest points-allowed this season; Vince Wilfork left the game twice yesterday with a foot injury; Junior Seau took a handful of snaps in place of Gary Guyton again; Gostkowski's 47 and 48 yard FGs pushed his point total over 100 and his career FGs to 100; Kevin Faulk pumped up his teammates yesterday with his TD and his energy; Sebastian Vollmer did a fantastic job in his first game back stopping Julius Peppers.
- NFL Game Center: Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots. Recap, stats, analysis, highlight videos.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Dolphins, Jets stalk vulnerable Patriots.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Some illuminating Moss stats. Eight of 11 Brady interceptions were intended for Moss.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) NBC Studio analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison and host Dan Patrick discussed Patriots WR Randy Moss' dubious performance in a 20-10 victory over the Panthers in Gillette Stadium.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB: Fourteen things you need to know on the heels of Week 14 in the NFL.
- Don Banks (S)) Snap Judgments: Assessing the chances of AFC wild-card contenders.