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Patriots notebook

Brady, offense set to play match game

By Michael Smith
Globe Staff / January 15, 2004

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FOXBOROUGH -- Rarely is Tom Brady outplayed by his counterpart at quarterback. That needs to continue Sunday in the AFC Championship game against Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Brady's offense figures to have as much to do with slowing down Manning and Co. as New England's defense. And while the Patriots are at it, a few touchdowns and no turnovers would help. This game doesn't have 6-3 written all over it.

"I think the one thing we need to do is score points," Brady said yesterday. "The first game [against the Colts Nov. 30] was a great indication. Watching the Kansas City game this past week, Kansas City didn't punt, but they still lost. Offensively, you realize that you can't afford too many possessions where you're not scoring, and not scoring touchdowns. I think the goal for us is the same as every week. We're always trying to score. We're not trying to kick field goals or change field position, but more so this week. Their offense can really score some points, so we're going to go out there and try to match it."

Brady completed 16 of 18 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in the first half of the Patriots' 38-34 win Nov. 30, and they led, 24-10. But he threw two interceptions in the second half, and his offense turned it over three times total, as the Colts rallied to tie the score a 31.

"We have to possess the football, probably more so this week," Brady said. "These guys can really make you pay. Learning from that first game, we were up 31-10 at one point, and the only way they really got back in the game was us making mistakes and turning the ball over. Of course, then you see how explosive they are by scoring 21 points in 10 minutes. I think the idea is to score those points and to eliminate those mistakes and take advantage of all the scoring opportunities we get in the red zone and when we get good field position, so that we can keep the offense on the field. I don't want to see Peyton slinging it all over the field."

Seymour is special

Richard Seymour was chosen the league's special teams player of the week for his block of Gary Anderson's 31-yard field goal attempt in the first half of Saturday's 3-point win over the Titans . . . Nothing's changed since last week -- Bill Belichick won't support the idea of an advantage for the Patriots because they live and work in frigid temperatures. "I don't think it's any kind of advantage at all," Belichick said. "It's the same situation for both teams. I don't think kicking a 46-yard field goal in zero-degree temperature is any kind of advantage. I'm sure if you asked Adam [Vinatieri], there's a lot of other situations he'd rather kick the ball in." . . . Belichick's assessment on Round 1 of the Matt Light-Dwight Freeney battle, waged Nov. 30 on Freeney's home turf: "Freeney's one of the best pass rushers we've seen all year. I thought it was real competitive. Both guys made plays. That's probably the way it's going to be with a lot of matchups this week." . . . The Patriots practiced in their indoor facility yesterday, though Belichick said the team would work outside later this week. Guard Damien Woody (knee) was the only player who did not participate . . . Woody also was alone on the injury report. Running back Antowain Smith (quadriceps/ankle) did not appear on the injury report, nor did Brady (knee). "My knee is fine," Brady said.

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