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Givens catching on in a hurry

FOXBOROUGH -- Two weeks after making the biggest catch of his career in the comeback win over Denver on "Monday Night Football," wide receiver David Givens again made a difference in a Patriots victory as his 57-yard reception in the second quarter last night set up a short touchdown run by Antowain Smith and gave New England some breathing room in its 12-0 win over Bill Parcells and the Dallas Cowboys.

With the Patriots holding a 3-0 lead midway through the second quarter and facing third and 6 from their 38, Tom Brady threw a deep ball over the middle to Givens, who found himself in single coverage.

"They were blitzing and had one-on-one coverage," said Brady. "I think the line did a great job with giving me time. I just threw it up there and David came down with it."

The ball appeared to be a little underthrown, but Givens was able to slow down and bring it in with cornerback Terence Newman right on his back.

"It was a better throw than people realize because Brady put it where no one but me could catch it," Givens said. "I knew the DB was running full speed and he couldn't see the ball, but I could. I stopped and caught it. It was a good throw, and I just made a play on the ball."

His play immediately following the catch was the move of the night. With Newman already off-balance after trying to make a play on the pass, Givens stepped hard to his right, then cut quickly back to his left and beat Newman down the sideline.

"That's called the shake-and-bake," Givens said of the nifty move.

Newman, who was victimized on more than one play last night, said he lost track of the ball and couldn't catch up in time to prevent Givens from making a play.

"He kind of slowed up, so I slowed up, and then he just took off," Newman said. "I tried to find out where the ball was. I couldn't find out where it was, and he did and just made a play."

Givens said those kind of plays are made mostly on instinct. "It's more of an innate thing," he said. "You see the ball and just go to it."

Newman finally caught up with Givens inside the 5-yard line. A roughing-the-passer call on the play gave the Patriots a first-and-goal at the 2, and Smith crashed over on the next play for 6 points.

The 57-yard reception was the longest of Givens's career. He finished with two catches for 67 yards and showed that even without David Patten, who is out for the season with a knee injury, and Troy Brown, who was a late scratch, the Patriots can still field a formidable aerial attack.

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afc east standings
  W L T Pct. PF PA
Patriots 8 2 0 .800 19.6 15.5
Dolphins 6 4 0 .600 17.7 14.7
Bills 4 6 0 .400 15.9 17.0
Jets 3 7 0 .300 19.7 21.1
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