1. O'Sullivan makes his mark
With Alex Smith on injured reserve, San Francisco has moved on from the No. 1 overall pick in the draft in 2005 and tabbed J.T. O'Sullivan as its starting quarterback. After appearing in just one game for the Green Bay Packers in 2004, O'Sullivan had a brief stint on the Patriots' practice squad in 2006. He didn't receive any significant playing time until last year, when he appeared in four games for the Detroit Lions, and he has worn eight different jerseys during his time in the league. But the 29-year-old seems to have finally established himself as a starter this season. In four games, he has thrown for 962 yards and four touchdowns as San Francisco has started the year 2-2. The 49ers went 5-11 last season.
2. Gore's the go-to guy
Although he finished sixth in yards from scrimmage for the season, Frank Gore (below) labored through an ankle injury and a broken hand suffered in training camp last year. This season, the fourth-year running back appears healthy and back to the form he showed in 2006 when he finished third in the league in rushing and set the franchise record for combined yards. He has run for 369 yards in four games, an average of 4.9 yards per carry, and scored three touchdowns. He had six TDs in 15 games a year ago.
3. Defense ripe for Pats' picking
If there ever was a time for the Patriots' offense to hit its stride, Sunday would appear to be it. Despite having Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary in his third year as the team's assistant head coach/defense, the San Francisco defensive unit ranks 21st in the league in points allowed (24.2), 22d in yards allowed (335.8), 19th in passing yards (211.2) and 21st in rushing yards (124.5).
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This week's OT cover
OT beat writersMaureen Mullen brings you Red Sox information and insights.
Tom Wilcox covers the Patriots.
Scott Souza is all over the Celtics.
Danny Picard is on the ice with the Bruins.
Mike McDonald takes a look at the humorous side of Boston sports