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Pats convert twice on fourth down for TD

11/30/2009

NEW ORLEANS -- There's a sign in the back of the end zone the New England Patriots are trying to enter in the first quarter.

HEY BILL

GO FOR IT

11-0

Twice on the Patriots' opening drive, Bill Belichick did. Twice the Patriots converted, including the final 4 yards for a touchdown to give them a 7-3 lead over the New Orleans Saints.

The Patriots went 80 yards on 14 plays. The impressive, methodical drive lasted 7 minutes, 40 seconds.

Belichick evoked memories of Indianapolis, where he went for it on fourth down from his own 28-yard line in the final moments against the Colts. The Patriots failed to gain the first down, and Peyton Manning beat them with a touchdown strike a few plays later.

On Monday night, Belichick opted not kick on fourth-and-1 from the Saints' 36-yard line. That would have been a 53-yard attempt for Stephen Gostkowski, and as Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com noted, Gostkowski made a 53-yarder in pregame warmups.

Sammy Morris picked up the first down with a 3-yard run up the middle.

Five plays later, the Patriots had a fourth-and-1 situation from the Saints' 4-yard line. Laurence Maroney took it in for the score.

The Superdome fell silent.