Patriots Stick Together the Way They Know Best, Ruthlessly

By routing the Tennessee Titans and securing a seventh straight trip to the A.F.C. title game, the Patriots ended a week of turmoil that followed a report of rifts among their leaders.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — When Bill Belichick roams the sidelines during a New England Patriots game, it is remarkable how often he is altogether alone. Belichick has more than a dozen assistant coaches, but few approach him. There are nearly 50 players, but they tend to scrupulously avoid their head coach.Typically, there is a buffer of about 20 feet between Belichick and any other person for most of the three hours it takes to play an N.F.L. game.Standing near the sideline throng, Belichick is am...