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Patriots shut out 49ers

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Patriots 20, 49ers 0

CANTON, Ohio — Dennis Miller was there; Steve Young was not. Welcome to a new season of "Monday Night Football."

Kevin Faulk set up a field goal with a punt return, then turned a short pass into a 25-yard touchdown as the New England Patriots beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-0 Monday night in the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition game.

"The thing that I was most happy with is that we played hard and I've tried to emphasize that from Day One," said Bill Belichick, making his debut as the head coach of the Patriots. "Coming to the Hall of Fame — the legend we've been around here — is really good for everybody on our team."

Miller made his debut in the ABC booth, joining Dan Fouts and Al Michaels to add spice — to say the least — to an otherwise bland game. Before the second quarter started, the comic-turned-commentator had already made references to the Vatican, male genitalia and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

The preseason opener for both teams wasn't nearly as colorful as Miller's commentary. The crowd of 22,840 thinned out as the second half progressed. The loudest cheers of the fourth quarter came when the fans began chanting, "Den-nis! Den-nis! Den-nis!" and tried to get Miller to pop his head out of the press box.