For now, as expected, those in the New England locker room are taking the positive side to where the team is heading to this week's game against Indianapolis.
Right now, the players choose to focus on the 5-2 mark -- one plenty of other teams would love to have by the way -- that's come without Tom Brady and through a barrage of injuries that have hit the offensive and defensive backfields.
The Patriots head into this week's game looking at the glass as half full at this point. Of course, considering the team is without the reigning NFL MVP that's probably a fair way to look at things in a league that's been as unpredictable as ever throughout the first half of the 2008 season
"It's a good spot," fullback Heath Evans said of the 5-2 start. "But November and December means everything in this league. We're not quite there yet. Hopefully we find a way to go 6-2 and obviously this Indy game and the Patriots is always a tough game. We're going to have our hands full, I'm sure."
Like the Patriots, the Colts are battling injuries and inconsistency at this point. The Colts have played .500 football, even with Peyton Manning under center. The two teams aren't exactly in the position NBC probably expected when it got this primetime matchup of perennial conference powers. But it's still one of the best rivalries in football and still matches two teams looking to build toward the postseason.
Most important for New England, it is the next game on the schedule as Bill Belichick's team looks to continue to build as it heads into a tough stretch that includes East battles against the Bills, Jets and Dolphins as well as a Nov. 30 hosting of the Steelers. The Patriots are an inconsistent 5-2 at this point, but they'll take it and hope to build on it moving forward.
"We're getting ready, we're preparing each week and we're doing what we have to do," left tackle Matt Light said. "Collectively, we can always get better if we continue to build each week and we don't slip. We had a great performance a week ago (against Denver), we came out here and had a dogfight (against St. Louis), but we played for 60 minutes. We had guys that hustled and finished plays."
They Said It:
"We were really scrambling there in the third quarter. We had really four turnovers, offensively, or as a team. We had the onside kick. They stopped us on fourth-and-1 and the interceptions. We were hanging on." -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick, on his team giving the Rams four extra possessions in the third quarter of Sunday's win over St. Louis.
Inside The Numbers:
64 -- At his current pace, including Sunday's three sacks by the Rams, Matt Cassel is on pace to get sacked 64 times this season. That's in stark contrast to Tom Brady's 21 sacks in 578 attempts last season and would challenge the New England franchise record for sacks allowed of 66 set in 1984.
--T Nick Kaczur missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. Second-year player Mark LeVoir, a first-year Patriot, replaced him in the starting lineup for the second week in a row.
--RBs LaMont Jordan (calf) and Sammy Morris (knee) both sat out Sunday's game against St. Louis. Jordan has now missed three straight games, while Morris missed his first of the season. In their absence, rookie free agent BenJarvus Green-Ellis earned his first career start and finished with nine carries for 16 yards with a touchdown.
--CB Deltha O'Neal was injured on the opening series against the Rams, leaving with a head injury. He was announced as questionable for a return and did later in the game to record a win-sealing interception, his second of the season.
--WR Randy Moss caught his 800th career pass with a 10-yard reception in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Rams, becoming the 20th player to reach that milestone. Moss finished the game with seven receptions for 102 yards in the victory, his third of the season and 58th of his career, one fewer than Marvin Harrison for third all time.
--WR Wes Welker tied WR Randy Moss for the team lead with seven receptions for 79 yards, becoming just the fourth player ever to open a season with six or more catches in seven straight games.
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