The Patriots wrapped up the regular season yesterday with a 21-7 win over the 49ers at Gillette. Game stories for the season ending contest are provided by Nick Cafardo (passive aggressive shot at Belichick to open the article) Michael Felger…Tom E Curran…Alan Greenberg…Michael Parente and Scott A Benson. Corey Dillon had another big rushing day and earned more incentives in his contract. Jackie MacMullan writes that the marriage of Dillon and the Patriots is working out quite nicely thus far. Shalise Manza Young has more on Dillon reaching his incentive. Ian M Clark also writes about Dillon. George Kimball has a subscription column on Dillon, and wonders why Dillon went back in for the final touchdown. Kevin Mannix notes that Bill Belichick did things a little differently than Tony Dungy and Andy Reid did in their games yesterday. Lenny Megliola says that the Patriots time begins now.
Ron Borges looks at Rohan Davey playing the fourth quarter. Jim Donaldson says the Patriots should be proud of their 14-2 mark this season, having faced more adversity than they did last year. Dan Pires also looks at the accomplishments of this squad. Karen Guregian says this is a flawed 14-2 team. Paul Harber, Steve Conroy and Alan Greenberg look at the performance of tight end Jed Weaver against his old team. Mike Reiss looks at areas of interest for the upcoming playoffs. Joe McDonald looks at Tom Brady’s afternoon. Steve Buckley has a subscription column on Brady, noting that the Patriots QB is looking forward to some rest and recovery the next couple weeks.
Christopher Price looks at the Patriots using 40 starters over the course of the season. Joe McDonald and Steve Conroy look at Mike Vrabel catching another TD pass. Rich Thompson looks at the Patriots defense not getting much of a rest yesterday. Shalise Manza Young looks at Willie McGinest finishing the year with 9 1/2 sacks, his most since 1996. Frank Dell’Apa looks at the 49ers having a rough day after a promising beginning.
Cafardo’s notebook looks at Bethel Johnson getting a chance to handle punts. Felger’s notebook has more on this subject as Johnson had a punt return for a TD which was called back thanks to a penalty. Curran’s notebook and Parente’s notebook also look at Johnson. Reiss’ notebook looks at Adam Vinatieri suffering some blurred vision in the second half yesterday.