Taking Their Wins Any Way They Can

The Patriots aren't about to apologize for winning a game in the NFL, and they shouldn't have to. They're also not going to apologize for the performance of one player, even though he's come under the microscope for his attitude. Winning cures all ills, and New England is one step closer to the postseason, though concerns over their health remain.

A win is a win right?
By Shane A. Leketa

After losing three out of the last four games, the Patriots needed to make a statement with a good performance against the Carolina Panthers to setup a playoff run in December.

On a rainy day inside Gillette Stadium, the Patriots pulled of a victory against the maligned Panthers lead by young quarterback Matt Moore.

After beating the Panthers, one would think that it would have been a moral victory. Others might even say that there are more questions after the game was over than before.

One concern is about the health and injuries to certain players like Ty Warren and -- most noticeably -- the second half departure of Vince Wilfork. If the Patriots are to make any playoff run whatsoever, the health of Wilfork will play a major role. With Mike Wright substituting for No. 75, you could see the gaps that were not filled like they normally are with Wilfork in there.

The second concern is questionable is the heart of this team. At times the Patriots showed character, grit and determination like the Patriots of old. Though, for most of the game, players turned in a lackluster performance, especially all pro wide out Randy Moss.

After a tumultuous week of players being sent home for showing up late for meetings and practices, the New England Patriots looked like they lost the swagger usually pours out on the field. The team seems to be trying to right a ship without a captain. New England does not seem to have the leadership presence of year's past. Names like Vrabel, Bruschi and Harrison are missing from this equation, replaced by names like Galloway and the disappointing Adalius Thomas.

After this weekend, you would think that the media and the fans would feel pretty good about a victory and the lead in the AFC East. That is definitely not the case. The radio and television outlets were all over the Moss situation where he was called out by the Panther defenders in stating that he gave up early in the game.

Panthers safety Chris Harris stated, "That's what it is with him. You get physical with him, and I don't want to say he quits, but he kind of doesn't run the routes the way they're supposed to be run. If you get a jam on him, he'll just ease up."

Where do the Patriots go from here?

Only time will tell, but with the surge of the Colts, Saints and Chargers it is going to be a very difficult and hard fought road ahead.

If there is a coach in the NFL that can turn this sinking entity around, it is definitely Bill Belichick responding to the comments about Moss, "My response would be that's a lot of conversation coming from a team that just lost another game."
Belichick will have this team prepared as much as he can for Sunday but, the ownership needs to be on the players. Maybe all of the other players on the field need to take note from Wes Welker and play with the fire and passion he played with on every play on last Sunday.

Hopefully here is to a victory next week against the Buffalo Bills. They are going need it.

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