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Patriots notebook

Welker receives praise

Stats don’t reveal his true worth

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / November 23, 2011
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Wes Welker didn’t have any flashy catches or touchdowns in the Patriots’ 34-3 victory over the Chiefs Monday night.

His two catches for 22 yards did little more than extend his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 88. The string dates to 2005 when Welker was a Dolphin. But his presence was noticed.

“For Wes, [it was] quiet as it relates to catches,’’ said offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. “But he does so many other things that help our offense.

“He was blocking extremely well and helping us in the running game. We rushed for 157 yards. Some of that was because of him and how well he blocked.

“Obviously, the Chiefs had a good game plan and they did a good job for most of the night and we were able to make some plays as the game wore on and it ended up being pretty good.’’

Welker’s catches came in the fourth quarter and extended his streak of games with a catch as a Patriot to 71, a franchise record.

Instead of catching passes against the Chiefs, Welker was chipping in on special teams as part of a group that helped Julian Edelman return a punt 72 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Coach Bill Belichick said there are a number of ways a player can help that aren’t measured by statistics.

“We grade players in the game based on them doing their assignment right and performing their responsibility on the play properly,’’ the coach said. “Whatever a player is supposed to do - run a route, block somebody, whatever it happens to be - if they do what they’re doing properly, that’s really all they can do.

“Wes, he does a good job for us; has done a good job all year in terms of his route running, his assignments, his blocking. Pretty much whatever we ask him to do, we can count on him to do it and perform it well. He’s done that consistently; he did that [Monday night].’’

Smooth landing

Rob Gronkowski didn’t know how dangerous his acrobatic landing in the end zone Monday night looked until he saw the film yesterday.

“Watching the replay, it was so emotional because it was definitely scary,’’ said Gronkowski, who felt fine hours after the tumble. “I’m glad I came out healthy.’’

The tight end was one of several Patriots at the Morgan Memorial Goodwill in Roxbury last night helping distribute Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft also was present. The event, which is in its 18th year, was a favorite for Kraft and his late wife, Myra.

“We need more acts of kindness and more acts of civility,’’ said Kraft. “And I think Morgan Memorial is great at helping people get back on their feet.’’

A team player

Kevin Faulk was inactive Monday night, but the veteran running back understood the decision.

With so many injuries on defense, the Patriots had to make a series of adjustments, and that meant he had to sit out.

Asked if that could be frustrating, Faulk said, “As a competitor, yes, but as a guy that’s been around a long time and understands the system and understands the team and understands the organization - not at all.

“Especially when they’re straightforward with you and tell you exactly not what you want to hear but what you need to hear. So I can’t complain at all.’’

Zero hour

Chad Ochocinco, who grabbed two passes for a season-high 65 yards against the Jets two weeks ago, didn’t register a catch against the Chiefs. Ochocinco played 12 snaps and at times seemed to be open, but quarterback Tom Brady took the blame, saying he needed to do a better job of spreading the ball around. O’Brien said the veteran receiver is coming along. “The snaps that he was in there, he did what he was supposed to do,’’ O’Brien said. “At times, just like in any game with any play, the read of the play didn’t always take us to his route. Again, we’re just going to continue to build with him in practice and hopefully in the games it will show up more than it has.’’

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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