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Belichick praises Wilfork's performance

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  December 20, 2010 05:45 PM

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Patriots players were given Monday off, but the coaching staff was at Gillette Stadium, reviewing the film of last night's 31-27 win over Green Bay and starting work for Sunday's game in Buffalo.

Bill Belichick wasn't happy with the way that the Patriots played against the Packers, and defensive players acknowledged after the game that there were some fundamental breakdowns. As Belichick said after the game, "we need to play better than this or our season won’t last much longer."

There was one thing Belichick was happy to talk about during Monday's conference call: the play of Vince Wilfork. Since the Packers offense was on the field so long -- they held the ball for nearly 41 minutes -- defensive players had a higher-than-average number of snaps. With the defensive line depleted, Wilfork was asked to play more than usual, and he responded.

"I thought Vince did a terrific job for us last night. He was out there for a lot of plays – 74 plays or whatever it was – I forget the exact number, but it was a lot," Belichick said. "I thought he played hard. He really had an outstanding game. They had a lot of attention directed at him, which is understandable, but he had a bunch of double teams and slides on the protection coming his way and those types of things. He really played hard, played well and did a lot of things to help us win.

"I thought he was outstanding - probably one of the best games he’s played. He’s played a lot of good ones, but I’d say that’s one of the best ones he’s played around here."

A question that didn't draw such a glowing response? One about the breakdown that led to a 66-yard touchdown pass from Matt Flynn to James Jones.

"Well, it shouldn’t have been a 66-yard touchdown, but it was. There were a couple of things that came up on that and we’ve just got to do a better job. We can’t have those kinds of plays – a third-and-long play and end up giving up a long touchdown," Belichick said. "We’ve got to coach better, we’ve got to play better. We just can’t give any team three-quarters of the field on one play, on a play like that."

Belichick spread the criticism arund.

"All of us are accountable - all the coaches, all the players, everybody involved. There were a lot of plays in the game that we have to do a better job of. Like I said last night, I’ve got to do a better job in coaching the team and preparing them and making sure that plays like that and the onside kick and strip sacks and stuff like that – that stuff can’t happen. It can’t happen or it will kill us."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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