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Cunningham catches Belichick's eye

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – One day after the Patriots’ 23-20 overtime win over the Ravens, coach Bill Belichick praised the play of rookie outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham.

Cunningham, who has emerged as a starter in the 3-4 alignment and one of the team’s top pass rushers, finished with six tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.

“I thought Jermaine played very aggressively. He certainly had some good plays, some big plays,” Belichick said. “He had a good pass rush there, got a holding [penalty] on [Michael] Oher. Made some plays in the running game. He still has a long way to go, but he’s working hard and I thought he did play very aggressively, which is what we need at that position.”

Belichick added that Rob Ninkovich, on the opposite side, also played well.

“I thought our outside linebackers did a pretty good job of keeping [Ray] Rice from busting a lot of plays outside, which he’s been known to do,” Belichick said. “Then our inside defenders did a good enough job trying to keep him contained. He’s a really hard guy to shut down. They’re a good running team.”