Post Bye Week Notes

Patriots coach Bill Belichick reflects on the pending game against the 49ers, QB J.T. O'Sullivan and the Buffalo Bills taking the lead in the AFC East.

Patriots In Unfamiliar Territory

--Heading into October, the AFC East isn't quite what it used to be, especially with the Patriots in second place.

With a win Sunday against St. Louis, the first-place Buffalo Bills improved to 4-0 and remained one of only three undefeated teams entering Monday night.

"I guess it has," Belichick said when asked if Buffalo's strong finish last year has carried over into this season. "I haven't really watched Buffalo. The Jets, we have talked about them, and Miami, those are two games we won handedly in '07 and it was a lot different last week. We got a good look at them."

Rams Offense In SF

--Belichick is familiar with Martz, who coached the Rams against New England in Super Bowl XXXVI and is considered one of the NFL's great offensive minds.

The veteran coach/coordinator hasn't changed much since joining Mike Nolan's staff in San Francisco.

"It's Mike's offense. It's basically the same plays," Belichick said. "As he always does, he tailors to the personnel he has. When he had Marshall Faulk, he did some things in the passing game that were pretty special for those backs. Frank Gore is a good receiver but he is a different kind of runner and the running game is tailored to him. It's the same offense. He just utilizes his personnel to maximize them."

Protection For O'Sullivan

--As is often the case with quarterbacks coached by Martz, J.T. O'Sullivan has already been sacked 19 times, which ranks No. 1 in the league through four weeks.

"I think it's a combination of things," Belichick said. "There have been times when quarterbacks have held the ball. There have been times where the protection has broken down. There have been times that they've gotten blitzed. At the same time, they have thrown for over 300 yards and have scored 30 points the second and third games in the year.

"I know what the numbers are but I think they can block. Believe me, we have seen lesser blockers than these guys. Let me put it that way."

Taking A Look Around

--With no specific game to prepare for until Monday, Belichick enjoyed his time off Sunday watching various NFL games.

"This is one where we didn't have a game this week so you could be a little bit of a fan and watch a few games," Belichick said. "Although we spent the day preparing and game planning for San Francisco based on the games we had, we will take a look at the New Orleans game, add that in and see if it's something that is going to affect what we are doing.

"I am sure there will be something in there that we will alter a little bit of what we are doing. It's good to sit back and see a little bit on TV what the rest of the league is doing."

Good Bye's

--The Patriots have been successful coming off the bye under Belichick's tenure with a 6-2 overall record. They've won their last five games following a bye week and have not lost since 2002, which is also the last year they missed the postseason.

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