FOXBOROUGH - Halfway through the regular season, the time had come for the bruised and battered Patriots to finally catch a break.
They got it in the form of a Cleveland team whose preferred quarterback, Kelly Holcomb, has a broken right fibula - a bleeding broken right fibula, actually - so painful he could not start yesterday’s game at Gillette Stadium, though he was pressed into action when starter Tim Couch sprained his right thumb near the end of the first half. A team without its stud running back, former Boston College star William Green, who sat with an injured right shoulder. A team without three of its opening-day starters on the offensive line. “Join the club, buddy,” Tedy Bruschi said. “It’s not a matter of who’s down but who’s in there and are they getting the job done.”