The Bengals elected to receive yesterday, clearly hoping they could pick apart the Patriots’ secondary and take an early lead.

In the end, their opening drive ended just as abruptly as Tom Brady’s commute on Thursday.

The Pats ‘D’ held strong out of the gate, and it gave the Patriots the confidence they needed to shut down the Bengals for the first half — as well as shut up Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens — in New England’s 38-24 win.


“I was happy with the way we played in the first half,” linebacker Tully Banta-Cain said. “We were able to neutralize them in the running game and the passing game.

“For us, that’s just a confidence booster, because we wanted to play with a lot of energy. We wanted to make plays early in the game to get energy on our defense.”

Going into the season, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of confidence in the defense outside of the organization, but Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork knows that what the Pats have is special. Yesterday was just a glimpse of it.

“Our confidence has been here … It was just a matter of time of getting on the field and actually showing it and showing up to play football, which we did,” he said.

“I never had a doubt in my mind about our confidence level and competiveness … At the end of the day, we know what we have in here. We just have to put it together on Sundays.”

Latest From ...