New England Patriots defeat Cincinnati Bengals, 35-28

He is a rumor without confirmation.

That's how the Patriots chose to view offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who officially will be named the coach at Notre Dame in a news conference today, after a squeamish 35-28 win over the resurgent Bengals yesterday. Weis is gone after the season, but he must play a role similar to the girlfriend you know is about to break up with you but hasn't asked you to clear your stuff from her apartment yet.

Asked about Weis, stone-faced Pa...

The guy to whom everything is a potential and dreaded "distraction," now must try to convince his team that the defection of its offensive coordinator is, well, not a distraction. So when is a distraction not a distraction? When Bill Belichick says so?

"Well, whatever it is, it is," Belichick said yesterday in a double-talking response to the simple question of whether or not Charlie Weis's decision to leave the Patriots to become Notre Dame's coach will be easier to de...

Tyrone Poole said he probably could count the number of plays he got in on with one hand, but after missing seven games because of knee surgery, the Patriots' starting cornerback was just pleased to get back on the field.

"I was joking with some of the guys that after I make a tackle I hope I don't choke from the dust on my shoulder pads," Poole said. "It felt great to be out there. I felt rusty for sure, but you want to jump back in there gradually and build it up week...

When a team is 12-1, clinching a playoff berth and the AFC East title (after the Jets lost to the Steelers) in spite of allowing almost 500 yards of offense, what else can one do but project this type of performance down the road to more meaningful games?

What if the Patriots' defense allows almost 500 yards to the Indianapolis Colts, or to Pittsburgh, in January? What if they play a team whose quarterback doesn't throw an interception for a touchdown, as Carson Palmer ...