New England Patriots defeat Denver Broncos, 41-7

FOXBOROUGH - Smash-mouth football is back in New England, for one night at least.

In search of their best approach against the overmatched, sloppy Broncos, the Patriots quickly found that the simplest plan was the best: line up and run it right over them.

In a decisive beatdown, the Patriots finished with 257 rushing yards; they haven't had more since Dec. 22, 1985, when they rang up 281 against the Bengals at Sullivan Stadium. Craig James and Tony Collins were the l...

FOXBOROUGH - Bill Belichick said his team had its best week of practice preparing for the Denver Broncos, and last night it showed.

The Patriots not only bounced back from a 20-point loss in San Diego, they blew away the Broncos, 41-7, in their most complete performance of the season.

They rushed 38 times for 257 yards, the most yards on the ground by a Patriots team since 1993. The defense forced five turnovers, four in the first half. Matt Cassel threw a career-hig...

FOXBOROUGH - Last night's game against the Broncos marked the Patriots' sixth with backup-turned-starter Matt Cassel at quarterback, and with that, they were hoping to avoid getting sucked into the strong current that often overtakes teams with a No. 2 thrust into the top spot.

As this season has once again proven, teams turning to backups - because of injury or performance - usually have trouble staying afloat.

The Patriots, who were 2-2 with Cassel as a starter (3-...

FOXBOROUGH - This was a game that probably said more about the state of the NFL than it did about the New England Patriots or Denver Broncos.

The NFL in 2008 has no great teams and it has no hopeless teams (OK, maybe the Lions). You simply don't know who is going to show up from week to week. This is a good thing for a Patriot team learning to live without Tom Brady. You can hang out in the Big Middle and still hope to make the playoffs, maybe more.

Humbled in two of...