Patriots Notes: Locker Room Banter

The New England Patriots are enjoying their victory over the New Orleans Saints, even if the end was more dramatic than it otherwise should have been. Get inside for some locker room banter and player notes from the game.

--Although quarterback Tom Brady was sacked three times by the Saints, there were no obvious breakdowns by Russ Hochstein, who got his first start at center following Dan Koppen's season-ending shoulder injury a week ago.

"We didn't fumble a snap," Brady joked, "so that was a bonus."

Since Koppen was so proficient at making the line calls, thereby setting up the Patriots' pass-protection schemes, there was some concern that Brady's health would be endangered against a talented Saints defensive line. However, the sacks appeared to be the result of New Orleans players winning one-on-one matchups and not because of miscommunication among the Patriots' offensive linemen.

"I love having both those guys," Brady said of Koppen and Hochstein. "I said last week with Dan Koppen, we have a great relationship. He is one of my best friends on the team. Russ stepped in there. I think he did great today. We will see the film (Monday). I know we won the game, and I know he did some great things out there."

--Wide receiver Andre' Davis' 60-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was his first as a Patriot and the 14th of his NFL career. Although it was the Patriots' longest scoring reception since Deion Branch's 66-yarder against Denver on Nov. 3, 2003, it ranks only second on Davis' long-distance list. He tied an NFL record with a 99-yard TD catch for the Browns on Oct. 17, 2004.

Brady threw deep seven times to Davis and once to Tim Dwight but only connected the one time.

"It just came up," Davis said of the strategy. "We knew that the Saints had an aggressive defense, and we wanted to make sure that we did all we could to take advantage of that. ... We were hoping that we could connect on a couple more, but we were able to get one big play."

--Fullback Patrick Pass' 31-yard run, which came the play before Davis' TD, was the longest of his career, surpassing a 19-yard gain he had at St. Louis on Nov. 7, 2004.

PLAYER NOTES

--LB Willie McGinest registered the Patriots' lone sack against the Saints, giving him a team-high 3.5 on the season.

--TE Benjamin Watson set single-game career highs in catches (four) and yards (66).

--LB Monty Beisel (back) was inactive for the first time this season. Beisel, who fled the Chiefs as a free agent in the offseason, hopes to be back next week when the Patriots visit Kansas City.

--FS Eugene Wilson picked off Saints QB Aaron Brooks in the end zone on the game's final play. It was Wilson's first interception of the season and just the third by a Patriots defensive back.

--WR/PR Tim Dwight had a 23-yard punt return in the second quarter. It was his fourth return of 20-plus yards this season.


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