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Sunday, November 3, 2013
Locker Room Buzz: New England Patriots

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Observed in the locker room after the New England Patriots' 55-31 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Belichick
Players erupt in celebration after earning 6 days off: When Bill Belichick stood in front of players after the resounding win, he shocked them by over-delivering on their expectation for the bye week. Some players had apparently been positioning to earn Thursday as an "extra" day off, so Belichick told them they had earned six straight days off -- Wednesday through the following Monday. Players described a scene in which everyone erupted in celebration. The general message was to rest up and that there is a lot of football ahead.

Inspired by the Red Sox? The Patriots honored the World Series champion Red Sox before the game, with pitcher Jon Lester carrying the World Series trophy to midfield for the opening coin toss. "Maybe we got our inspiration from the Red Sox," Belichick said.

Brady couldn't have envisioned this: After eight weeks in which the offense has struggled for long stretches, quarterback Tom Brady called it a fun day, and obviously the best day the offense has had execution-wise. "You don't wake up in the morning and think they are going to be like that," he said. "It was pretty sweet."

Smiling Sopoaga represents Moses Malone: Newly acquired nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, who has a collection of authentic NBA jerseys, donned a Philadelphia 76ers Moses Malone jersey after the game. Sopoaga started and played about 24 snaps in a situational role, and made his mark by holding his ground on a fourth-and-1 stop and also batting down a pass. "I feel like today is my birthday again. Winning and playing with Tom Brady? Come on," he said, with a laugh.