There's safety in Hightower's game again — PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

Rob Gronkowski had a career-high 162 yards receiving against the Bengals

After falling behind early, the Patriots turned it on to improve to 5-1 with a 35-17 victory over the Bengals.

The New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, will play their Week 6 National Football League game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, October 16, 2016, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

A holding penalty. A sack for a safety. "He's a good player, and he had some big plays for us today; no question". If not, hopefully the organization will make the decision for him. "Especially in crunch time".

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton put on a show in his own right, completing 21 of 31 passes for 254 yards. "But really, the main thing is just getting a hand on him".

Center Russell Bodine left in the third quarter because of a sprained ankle. But Dre Kirkpatrick was called for an illegal contact penalty, which kept the drive alive.

The Bengals scored on their first drive after halftime to briefly take a 14-10 lead.

"He kind of delayed and came on a blitz and made a good play", Dalton said. They have a lot of good players.

"All of a sudden there was a lot of penetration there", Peko said. It's about how the real, full-strength 2016 Patriots figure out how to win games.

For much of the day, former first-team All-Pro Dont'a Hightower and rookie Elandon Roberts filled the team's needs at linebacker with Jamie Collins out with a hip injury.

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"They got to us in the second half, and that was a tough one", defensive tackle Domata Peko said. "That's the first fade we threw this year. We tried to make them go elsewhere and it worked in our favor". I don't say "dirty". "It's going to be another big win - another 400 yards". We ended up scoring the touchdown after that because of field position. "We've got to take this thing and try to get to 3-4 and then we'll move from there". Hightower also forced a safety against Cleveland last week when he pressured Browns quarterback Cody Kessler into a backward pass that went out of the end zone. "But you have to run through it". They have two safeties who are 220 pounds. The running back looks like the new coming of Shane Vereen.

New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who kicked two field goals, missed on an extra point try, his first miss since the distance moved back past year.

"Once I got out there running around, it felt like football", said Brady, who completed 29 of 35 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns.

That's great news here in New England, is it means the road through the AFC will remain a little easier as long as he's coaching when these two clubs meet. In the middle of the fourth quarter. The Patriots kept the ball rolling by feeding their ludicrously talented TE tandem of Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. Dalton also scored the lone touchdown on the ground. "So I don't know if it was necessarily our guys".

"As he normally does in the course of that type of a game, you know, some of the comments and observations that [McCourty] made affected some of the things we were thinking about doing", Belichick said. You wouldn't think they needed a confidence boost.

For either of those teams to knock off New England, they'll have to start by first slowing Gronkowski and Bennett.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, who had the most to do with Brady's suspension - appeasing alleged squeaky wheel owners in Baltimore, Hempstead, New York, and Indianapolis - has not been to Gillette Stadium in almost two years. "But after that, I just had to stay away".

"And, as a teammate, from Day One being a new guy, he's always helped me get lined up". I was just clearing myself out.

"I let everyone else celebrate. I've got to watch out for that".

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