49ERS AT PA­TRI­OTS Ad­mi­ra­tion mu­tual for Moss, Belichick

Wide re­ceiver will face former coach Sun­day night when 49ers visit Pa­tri­ots.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - By­janie mccauley

SANTA CLARA, CALif. — Randy Moss joined the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots ffive years ago think­ing he knew a lot about foot­ball.

Then, he be­gan play­ing for Bill Belichick. Moss’ mind­set re­gard­ing his own foot­ball knowl­edge changed in a hurry. Only then did he learn the in­tri­ca­cies of his sport from “A to Z,” as the 49ers wide re­ceiver now puts it.

Moss re­turns to Foxborough, Mass., this week­end with his new team to face the high-scor­ing Pa­tri­ots (10-3) in prime time — a matchup of Tom Brady and the AFC’s top ofiense against NFL sacks leader Al­don Smith and the NFC’s No. 2 de­fense.

“I’ve said time and time again, be­fore I got to New Eng­land, I thought I knew a lot about foot­ball,” Moss said. “But I think he taught me a lot from A to Z. I still carry it to this day. The com­pli­ments are good and I re­spect coach Belichick and that or­ga­ni­za­tion still to this day. Hopefully, we’ll have a good game coming up Sun­day night. I look for­ward to the game, and hope the fans do, too.”

Moss, 35, hardly has the play­mak­ing role as a 14thyear pro that he did as a young­ster in the league, yet that didn’t stop Belichick from pil­ing on the praise this week.

Moss has 21 catches for 326 yards and two touch­downs this sea­son for San Fran­cisco (9-3-1). Not bad for a guy who spent the 2011 sea­son out of foot­ball fol­low­ing a frus­trat­ing year in which he bounced from the Pa­tri­ots to the Vik­ings to the Ti­tans.

“He’s the great­est deep­ball re­ceiver I think that’s ever played,” Belichick said. “No­body runs bet­ter pat­terns, bet­ter at the deep part of the ffield, than Randy Moss can. I still see him do­ing that. You have to re­spect his abil­ity to stretch the ffield so deep and get be­hind you. It’s hard to take that away and de­fend ev­ery­thing else that he can do. He’s an ex­plo­sive, dy­namic player. Prob­a­bly the smartest re­ceiver I’ve ever coached.”

Moss said ear­lier this week he didn’t watch New Eng­land’s Mon­day night rout of the Hous­ton Tex­ans be­cause he al­ready knew what the Pa­tri­ots bring with Brady un­der cen­ter. Many re­mem­ber that Moss’ best sea­son came for the Pa­tri­ots in 2007, when he caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and a sin­gle-sea­son record 23 touch­downs in help­ing lead New Eng­land

MICHAEL PEREZ / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Ea­gles’ Bryce Brown avoids the tackle of the Ben­gals’ Em­manuel La­mur dur­ing the first half Thurs­day night in Philadel­phia. The game was not fin­ished in time for this edi­tion. See for the re­sult.

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