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PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

This kind of grind proves lots of fun

FOXBOROUGH -- They were told time and time again, "You can't run, so don't bother. You are not a running team." And so the Patriots were going to show the NFL and the world they were wrong.

With durable guard Mike Compton out of action with a foot injury, the Patriots started an offensive line with Damien Woody at right guard, Dan Koppen at center, and Joe Andruzzi shifting from right guard to left guard.

Matt Light remained at left tackle and Adrian Klemm played right tackle. And New England was able to run on what is normally a very good Jets defensive line. New York's aging linebacking corps wasn't able to put enough of a licking on Kevin Faulk, who ran for 79 yards on 17 carries for a 4.6-yards-per-carry average, and Antowain Smith, who ran for 55 yards on 13 carries for a 4.2-yard average. The team rushed 36 times for 147 yards, a 4.1-yard average.

This is the way the running back by committee is supposed to work. The Patriots certainly would be happy with those numbers every week.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered no specific reason for the game of musical chairs on the offensive line. "I don't know," he said. "We just felt like this week that was the best combination for us. I guess that is the best way I can put it."

"I think in that third-quarter series [when the Patriots scored a touchdown to break a 9-9 tie], we ran a little bit and passed a little bit," said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. "They are going to feed off one another. The play action comes when you are running well."

Brady said the team intended to come out and play smash-mouth football. The Patriots ran seven running plays on their first series of the game, setting the tone. Brady said Smith "puts a lot of heat on that defense when he gets downhill and runs hard. And he always does that. It's just something we have to build on."

Faulk gave credit to the line because "they made some great blocks. As a back you have to read those and make your moves. They did a great job opening holes today."

Smith credited the line as well, and referred specifically to the Boston College connection -- Koppen and Woody. "Those BC guys stick together," he said. "They got it done out there today."

After the Patriots' fourth game next week in Washington, former BC running back Mike Cloud is due to return from his four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned supplement.

Opinions on Colvin

While the Patriots have told Rosevelt Colvin's agents to zip it on details of Colvin's hip surgery, Dr. Rick Herman of Brockton Hospital, and medical expert on the WBCN pregame show, said he believes Colvin's injury could be career-threatening. Herman referred to a Duke University Medical Center study last summer that researched hip injuries and their severity to professional athletes. The study indicated that a fracture would be characteristic of a subluxation, which is a partial dislocation where the ball at the top of the femur moves in and out of the joint. The fracture develops as a result of the ball joint moving. The Patriots indicated Colvin would be ready for next season, and that might be true. What is now known is how severe the fracture was. The Duke study also indicated that a partial dislocation can be worse than a dislocation if not treated properly because it can lead to a condition known as avascular necrosis, which is when the hip joint no longer receives an adequate supply of blood. The resulting death of the bone causes the joint to collapse.

A first for Klecko

Dan Klecko made his NFL debut playing outside linebacker later in the game. Klecko said earlier in the week that he was playing only defensive line in practice. Inactive for the Patriots yesterday were the injured players -- Johnson, Colvin, and Compton -- as well as fullback Fred McCrary, safety Je'Rod Cherry, guard Brandon Gorin, and defensive end Anthony Pleasant. Rohan Davey was the third quarterback . . . Back judge Tony Steratore said in reference to the pass interference call on Ray Mickens on Troy Brown, which led to the Patriots' first touchdown, "The defender was not playing the ball and . . . he restricted [Brown] from getting to his route and to the ball, which was also catchable, we felt. That's why we had pass interference." Referee Walt Anderson also ruled that Brady fumbled at the Patriots 29 with 7:14 remaining in the third quarter, leading the Jets to their tying field goal (9-9). The play looked a little bit like the Super Bowl "tuck rule" play, but Anderson said, "What happened is he brought his hand back and although his elbow started moving forward, his hand was still back. The defender [Chester McGlockton] came around the back side of him and before his hand with the ball in it came forward, the defender tipped it out."

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