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Fauria's end zone moves are catchy

PHILADELPHIA -- No longer does it come as a surprise. In fact, it's expected. To the point where celebratory dances are discussed beforehand.

Oh, yeah, it's like that. Back in the day, Christian Fauria used to pray for an opportunity to get into the end zone, preferably with the ball in hand. Nowadays, thanks to seven touchdowns last year -- which not only established a career high but matched his career total the previous seven years in Seattle -- Fauria plans accordingly.

Witness his reaction following his first of two touchdown catches in yesterday's 31-10 victory over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. After he leaped over two defenders to haul in an 8-yard scoring pass from Tom Brady in the second quarter and give the Patriots the lead for good, Fauria popped up and expressed his joy in a manner that only hard-core Eddie Murphy fans can appreciate: He pointed forward with both index fingers, then pointed them to his left, as if to say, "I'm out." The move was inspired by one of Murphy's characters, Randy Watson, "from the what's-going-down episode of `That's My Momma' " and the lead singer of the band Sexual Chocolate in the late '80s hit, "Coming to America."

All of a sudden, it seems, Fauria has a little Tony Gonzalez in him. Better yet, a lot of T.O. (Terrell Owens). He's had to take up choreography.

"I was talking to Fred McCrary about it, and he was like `What are you going to do? What are you going to do?' I was like, `I got something,' " Fauria said. "I had just watched the movie. [The dance] didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to."

He couldn't ask for more from this phase of his career. He's had a pair of two-touchdown performances in 18 games as a Patriot. As a Seahawk, he never caught more than a pair of touchdowns in a season. Fauria has become a certified red-zone threat. What's taking the opposition so long to catch on to the fact that he can catch is anyone's guess.

"I really don't know," Fauria answered when asked to explain how he always seems to be so open. "I really don't care. If they're going to key on me in the red zone, then we'll throw it to someone else. I'm just fortunate that they called my number. Hopefully, they keep 'em coming."

The more he gets, though, the more he wants. Fauria acknowledged that, "When we get down there, I'm hoping that I'm an option that they think about."

If you're the least bit superstitious, that can be a problem. "The hardest is not to think about getting in there," he said. "I kind of get excited and I don't want to jinx myself. I try to stay as calm as possible, let things happen the way they should, and catch the ball when it's thrown to me."

With 8:04 to go in the first half and the Patriots trailing, 7-3, Brady lobbed one up to his 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound tight end in the right corner of the end zone, and Fauria went up and got it despite the defense of a couple of late-swooping Eagles.

"I knew right when I came off the line that I was getting the ball, because there was just no one where I was going," Fauria said of his first TD, which ended a drought of two games without a touchdown.

The second score, from 5 yards, which capped New England's next possession, was comparatively routine. It was like a passing drill. By the time any of the Eagles drifted into his domain, the play was about over. "I couldn't see anything," Fauria said. "And all of a sudden the ball just kind of popped out. He threw it to my outside shoulder where [the safety] couldn't get it."

Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis obviously gets it that the Seahawks slept on this guy for years. Maybe one of these Sundays a defense won't fall asleep when the Patriots venture into the red zone.

"I've got to give credit to Charlie for calling the plays," said Fauria, who added a 6-yard reception in the third quarter that set up a TD. "It's a one-man route, there's nobody else going out. If I don't get through the D-line, then the linebackers, Tom's gotta throw it away. It's a timing thing. It's using the run for setting up the pass. It's like going back to Pop Warner."

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