FOXBORO — The Patriots scored the first three times they had the ball Monday night.
How important was getting off to a fast start in a game against a team that was thought to be superior to the Patriots?
“I think it’s always something you’d like to do, is get off to a good start and get ahead in the game,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels  said. “You always try to run the best plays you can or put the groupings out there that you think can give you the most success or try to put the players in the best positions to be successful as many times as you can and that starts with the beginning of the game.
“I don’t think that changes based on who you’re playing. You always try to get out there and play well early. And against a really good team as we played yesterday, to go out there and put some points on the board in the first quarter, credit goes to the players. They did a great job of executing some of those things and really made some adjustments there and made some critical plays under pressure that helped us get off to a good start yesterday and play from ahead.”
McDaniels spent all week scheming against – J.J. Watt – one of the most dangerous defensive players in the NFL.
Watt did have three hits of the six hits on Tom Brady , forced a fumble on Danny Woodhead  that resulted in a Brandon Lloyd  recovery for a touchdown in the end zone. But he did not have a sack and the Patriots were able to throw deep
“He’s a great player and I don’t think we felt like we were going to be able to just [keep] him from making any plays, hopefully you can contain him from making any impact plays, where he tips the ball up in the air and get an interception, which has happened multiple times this year or sack the quarterback, strip-sack the quarterback ‘ all those kinds of plays that he’s making throughout the course of the season that have changed the course of games or the outcome even. That’s what we’re trying to prevent. When you can get help on a special player like that, you can try to, but there’s so many ways to avoid that as the defensive play caller, too.”
Could that help this Sunday against the 49ers ‘ Aldon Smith, the only pass rusher who has more sacks (19.5) than Watt?
“We can’t control what other people are saying or what’s being said outside of the building, obviously,” McDaniels said. “The thing we can do is come to work every day. I’ve seen a number of players already in today getting film and treatment and all those things and just prepare and go through our normal process of preparation. I know that’s the best way to focus on our next opponent and control the things that we can control and I think that our guys are really intent on having another good week of preparation as we did last week and just trying to put the best performance we can out there on Sunday night against a really, really talented defense. I mean, this is as good as we’re going to face. We certainly have a great deal of respect for the way they’re coached, the way they way, the style of defense they have. They have great players at all three levels of their defense, Pro-Bowl caliber players. This will be a tremendous challenge for us. Really, we’re going to have our hands full with just the preparation and getting ourselves ready to play against a really, really special defense.
“We’re just getting ready to play them. I’m sure they’re going to come in here and play hard, just like they always do and that’s what we’re going to do, too. Extra this or that, I’m not sure that anybody needs it this time of the year. We’re all fighting to win each and every game that we can and I’m sure they’re going to come in here and play hard and hopefully we can have a great week of preparation and put our best performance out there on Sunday night.”