Meaningless Win Came With A Price

Rodney Harrison and Vince Young

At kickoff, the Patriots didn't know if the outcome of their final regular season game would have an impact on their playoff seeding. Tennessee had to win to just have a postseason chance. In what should have been a a game that New England rested its starters, an intense battle to win took place. Unfortunately, that intensity took its toll.

The Patriots ended the season on a three-game winning streak after outlasting the Titans 40-23 Sunday, but they suffered one potentially damaging injury.

In the second quarter, Titans receiver Bobby Wade blocked Rodney Harrison below the waist on a running play. Harrison injured his knee on the play and was forced to leave the game.

Early reports are that Harrison will miss this week's playoff game against the Jets and could be out for the remainder of the post-season. If that were the case, it would be a huge blow to the Patriots' defense.

Linebacker Tedy Bruschi took exception to the block -- obviously thinking Wade went after Harrison's knees on purpose -- and charged at the Titans sideline yelling at players and coaches.

After the game, Harrison himself said that Wade's block was a cheap shot.

"It was a dirty play," Harrison said. "He wasn't just trying to block me. He dove at my knees intentionally. He was trying to hurt me. The whole play was dirty. I don't even know the guy. I don't even know him, but their whole offensive line is dirty. Their whole offense is dirty. They're a dirty team."

The Titans had the exact opposite take on the block. One of the players right in the mix was tight end Bo Scaife. He gave his opinion on the ruckus that broke out following the play.

"They were just getting frustrated because they were getting blown off the ball and Travis (Henry) was running it down their throats," Scaife said. "He (Bruschi) didn't say anything to me. I think they were going after Bobby because they thought it was a cheap shot. I saw the play, and it was a clean block.

"Harrison has a reputation of being the dirtiest player in the league anyway. The whole team is dirty. They're out there delivering cheap shots, and then the guy doing it the most gets blocked cleanly and they don't like it. They were just crying."

The game was chippy from the start. The teams combined for 19 penalties, including numerous personal fouls.

In posting a 12-4 record this season, New England battled through injuries and the loss of many key free agents to once again claim the AFC East title. The Patriots now prepare to take on the hated Jets, a team that already beat them at Gillette Stadium back in November. With Harrison's status uncertain and Eric Mangini coming back to town for the playoffs, it should be an interesting week in Foxborough.

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