Brady still MIA; will play Sunday; QB out second straight practice.


Byline: Jennifer Toland COLUMN: PATRIOTS NOTES FOXBORO - Patriots quarterback Tom Brady missed at least a portion of practice for the second straight day yesterday, but remains probable for Sunday's season finale at Tennessee. Brady was rammed by Jaguars linebacker Clint Ingram in the back of his right (throwing) shoulder in the fourth quarter of last week's game. Brady said Wednesday he was still "a little bit sore" from the hit. Backup QB Matt Cassel said yesterday he took all the snaps in Wednesday's practice. "Tom's recovering from a little bit of a back (injury) and he'll be back," Cassel said. Including the playoffs, Brady has made 104 straight starts. He has been listed on the weekly injury report all season as "probable" with a "right shoulder" injury. Missing Sunday's game, he said, is "the type of thing that never enters my mind." There were no changes to the Patriots injury report. Defense can set record The Patriots defense has a chance to set the team single-season record for fewest points allowed per game. Through 15 games, the Patriots are allowing an average of 14.27 points. Only the Ravens (12.93) rank higher. The franchise record for fewest points allowed per game is 14.88, set in 2003. "I think some of our success defensively this year has been as a result of the field position that we've had," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "That certainly helps and that comes from both the offense and the special teams unit. To some degree, it's also a function of the score. It's a lot easier to play defense from ahead when it's kind of a one-dimensional game. That being said, I think our defense has done some good things this year, but I think defense is still team defense with that unit out there, but also to a degree, it's reflective of the overall performance of the team." The Patriots have the fourth-ranked red zone defense, having allowed opponents 12 touchdowns on 31 trips inside the 20-yard line. The Patriots are allowing 1.93 yards per play in the red zone, the best mark in the NFL. "I don't think there's any way you can really not give up a lot of points on defense unless you can play competitively on third down (Pats rank 12th) and in the red area and not give up big plays," Belichick said. "If you do any one of those three poorly, then that's going to lead to giving up points. It's as simple as that." The Patriots have allowed opposing offenses to score 20 touchdowns, a mark that's tied (Baltimore, Minnesota) for lowest in the NFL...

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