The Patriots are just like most of us working stiffs. They aren't going to complain about a week off, no matter what the circumstances.

The Patriots are just like most of us working stiffs.

They aren't going to complain about a week off, no matter what the circumstances.

With nine straight wins to start the season, capped by a dramatic comeback from 10 points down in the fourth quarter against the defending Super Bowl champs Sunday, it would be understandable if the Patriots didn't want anything to halt their momentum.

But the Pats have no complaints about getting away from the NFL grind for a week with this weekend's bye.

“You still need a bye week,” said linebacker Tedy Bruschi. “You can't control when the bye week is, but is it nice to have it around the middle of the season? Yes, it is. We've put in a lot of weeks in a row. After nine games and a training camp and the work we've put in, to have a break at this point, I think it's well-timed.”

Safety Rodney Harrison agreed that the benefits of getting a break outweigh any threat of disrupting the club's winning routine.

“It doesn't matter, any time you get a chance to rest and spend some time with the family I think it helps,” he said. “We've still got seven weeks to go, so it's good to take some time and get healthy.”

The Pats have been fortunate this year to avoid a lot of serious injuries. They did lose running back Sammy Morris for the season with a chest injury suffered against Dallas in Week 6. But while most teams are losing bodies to the NFL's war of attrition, New England has been gaining reinforcements.

Harrison returned a month ago after sitting out the first four games while suspended for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.

Pro-Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour was back two weeks ago after missing the first seven games following offseason knee surgery, while receiver Chad Jackson and defensive back Eddie Jackson started practicing two weeks ago, and wideout Troy Brown was back on the practice field this week.

Still, nine weeks of pro football leaves plenty of bumps and bruises, and a few days off are always welcome.

And this midseason break will help a lot in the Patriots’ continued quest for perfection.

“We understand with each victory you have more pressure from outside for us to win, but no one puts more pressure on us than we do ourselves as a group,” said Harrison. “We understand we're 9-0 and that's fine and dandy, but we still have a long way to go.”

It's not just about having time to heal physically; it's also about getting a respite mentally. After all, digesting those Belichick game plans week after week can get pretty draining.

“Yes, the guys need a break, need a chance to get away from football and just really mentally get recharged,” Harrison said.

“It breaks the monotony of everything,” added Harrison of the bye. “I think it's come at a good time for us. We've been fortunate that it comes at the midpoint (of the season).”

But is it ever possible to truly get away from the game when it’s ingrained into you as much as it is for an NFL player?

“Guys do get a chance to get away from it all,” said Harrison. “Go home and do whatever they want to do - golf, go to the movies, spend some time with your significant other and have some more privacy.”

As they were packing up their stuff for their brief vacation after team meetings yesterday, some of the Patriots were already exploring their other interests.

Cornerback Ellis Hobbs can't quite abandon football completely. He won't risk any injuries other than a blister to his thumb as he'll confine his games to the TV screen. Hobbs said he planned to hone his Madden skills over the break.

Reserve linebacker Pierre Woods has bigger goals. He was already relaxing in the locker room with a guitar at his stall yesterday. Woods declined to perform for the assembled media, however, saying that he was just learning how to play.

Now that's a way to fill the void for not having to learn another game plan this week.

-- MetroWest Daily News