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Patriots notebook

Moss on receiving end of praise

Belichick calls him best he's ever had

Email|Print| Text size + By Christopher L. Gasper
Globe Staff / November 20, 2007

FOXBOROUGH - Randy Moss has caught nearly everything thrown his way this season, and yesterday he caught some praise from his coach.

A day after Moss caught 10 passes for 128 yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns (all in the first half) in a 56-10 victory over the Bills, coach Bill Belichick was asked if the draft-day deal for Moss could have turned out any better. The Patriots swapped a mere fourth-round pick for Moss, who leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,052) and touchdowns (16).

"I'm glad we have Randy Moss, let's put it that way," Belichick said. "I'm glad we got him. As a head coach, I've never had a better receiver than Randy. I've been on teams that have had a lot of other good receivers, but he's very good and he's been good for this football team.

"He's added a lot. He's brought a lot of leadership as well as playmaking ability and a lot of versatility to our football team. I'm glad we have him. I don't know about ranking anything. I don't know about all that, but I'm glad he's on our team. I'm glad he's playing for us."

Moss, the Patriots' first 1,000-yard receiver since Troy Brown in 2001, and Belichick seem to have something of a mutual admiration society, as Moss threw plaudits Belichick's way following the win.

"When you have a coach that really has the passion, desire, and love for the game of football and he puts players in positions that really love the game, you can't ask for anything more," Moss said. "You want guys out there that are hungry, and that's what coach Belichick puts on the field, some hungry football players. That's a guy you want to play for."

Moss not only wowed a national television audience on NBC, he also made himself a little money. According to an NFL Network report, Moss has incentive clauses in his renegotiated contract that give him a series of $350,000 bonuses for reaching 45, 55, 65, 75, and 85 catches. The 10 catches Moss had Sunday night gave him 66 on the season and his third $350,000 bonus.

Hear no evil

Once again Belichick was forced to defend his rationale for going for it on fourth down while his team was routing an opponent. With the Patriots holding a 42-10 lead over Buffalo late in the third quarter, Tom Brady completed a 3-yard pass to Moss on fourth and 1 from the Buffalo 10. Two plays later, Kyle Eckel scored on a 1-yard run to extend the advantage to 49-10.

The crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium serenaded Belichick and the Patriots with a crass chant when they went for it on fourth down.

"I mean, our offense was moving the ball pretty well, and in those situations, at that point in the game, I really don't like kicking field goals," Belichick said. "I feel like that's just adding points. I'd rather go for it on fourth down and give them an opportunity to stop us, and our offense was moving the ball well, so it gives them an opportunity to keep playing."

As for the chants, did Belichick hear them?

"No, not really," he said. "I'm just trying to coach our team."

More and more scores

Among the many offensive marks the Patriots have set this season is the franchise record for touchdowns. With eight against the Bills, the Patriots now have 54 on the season. That breaks the mark of 52, which was set in 1961 and tied in 1980. The 411 points this season are already the sixth-highest total in team history and there are six games to go. The 1980 team holds the franchise record for points in a season with 441. The Patriots could topple that Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. "It is amazing to see this," said former Patriots linebacker Andre Tippett. "I haven't seen anything like this since the Dan Fouts days when he was with the Chargers. For us to put up these points, it is crazy. You may see more records being broken. They're not about the records, but that's part of success. When you have a lot of success, things like that happen. It really is unique to watch these guys score those points up there."

A place of their own

Tippett and fellow Patriots Hall of Fame members Gino Cappelletti and Steve Nelson were on hand yesterday for the topping off ceremony of The Hall at Patriot Place, the 36,000-square-foot, high-tech, interactive exhibit hall that the Patriots are building as part of the Patriot Place development adjacent to Gillette Stadium. The Hall will be home to the Patriots Hall of Fame and will feature 30-foot-tall video pylons that use movable-ink technology to display video and other multimedia. "The past is very important to us," said Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "We think of all the experiences we had coming as a family here, and there were some great moments and we're going to capture them here." Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said the $22 million facility will be unique in the NFL. "There is a great story with people like Tip, and with Gino and Steve Nelson, and [Steve] Grogan, and John Hannah, the greatest offensive lineman in the history of the game, so we're going to get a chance now to display the history of these guys on really a first-class scale that they never got while they were playing," said Jonathan Kraft. "And then also celebrate the present and the future to come. The Hall is going to be flexible and dynamic."

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