By: Ian Logue/
October 27, 2002

No Brady or Gronk, but plenty of storylines at Patriots OTAs
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski not at the start of the team's OTA's today
NFL notes: Don't be surprised if Deatrich Wise Jr., Derek Rivers rise up for Patriots
New Patriots DL Danny Shelton preps to hit the hill
Patriots center David Andrews excited with his new Georgia Bulldog teammates

FOXBORO, MA -- The snowball that began in week three against the Kansas City Chiefs has turned into an avalanche that seems to be wildly out of control right now for the Patriots.

They've been run over by five different runningbacks in the past five weeks, with each of them rushing for over 100-yards against what has become a porous Patriots defense.  On the flip side they've gotten little or no production from their own running game, with Antowain Smith not breaking the 100-yard mark since December 22nd of last season.

In their four losses they have been outscored 65-24 in the first half of play, including trailing 21-7 at the half on Sunday despite a +2 turnover margin.  They committed just two penalties in the first half for 29-yards but couldn't get the Broncos off the field on third down.  They allowed Denver to convert 6-of-6 on third down, and in their two trips inside the Patriots red zone the Broncos scored two touchdowns.

"In the end we need to do a better job on third down then we did, in the red area in the first half defensively," said Belichick after the game.  "You've just got to give credit to the Broncos.  They made more plays than we did today."

"It's hard to go out there and play a perfect game.  We made some mistakes, they made some mistakes, we lost by a touchdown to a good team.  We need to play better, we're going to play better."

The team did as they said they would, making a couple of line-up changes including taking wide receiver Donald Hayes out of the line-up and listing him as inactive for the game.  Wide receiver David Givens took Hayes' place in the line-up, but it was Troy Brown who led the receivers with 7-catches for 59-yards, with Givens as the only other wideout with a catch.  Both Deion Branch and David Patten were in the line-up on Sunday, but neither of them had a reception.

Brady found himself under constant pressure on Sunday, being sacked five times during the game but not throwing an interception.  The defense took the ball away twice and watched Denver miss two field goals and still couldn't manage to come out with a victory on Sunday.

They had more balance in the offense, rushing 19 times and passing 29-times, with nine of those pass attempts coming in the fourth quarter when they were forced to throw to try to get back into the football game.

Another frustrating loss with a big division game coming up this weekend against Drew Bledsoe and the Buffalo Bills.  Is there confidence left among the players in the Patriots locker room?

"I think there's some [confidence] left," said Belichick.  "But anytime you lose four games in a row that's not going to help it a lot."

"The theme every week is to win.  That's always what it is that's always what it will be."