Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wrap-up: Patriots 38, Bengals 24
By Tim Graham
What it means: The Patriots asserted themselves as a team to be reckoned with after a summer that generated a lot of uncertainty, especially on defense. The game was a potential shootout given the Patriots' pass-rush problems and inexperience at cornerback. The Bengals made the score interesting with a second-half surge, but the Patriots comfortably led 24-3 at halftime.
Big revelation: Wes Welker's surgically repaired knee didn't prevent him from having a big day. He caught eight passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. He had only four touchdowns on 123 receptions last year. That's the kind of afternoon that will help him get over the psychological part of his recovery.
Unsung hero: With uneasiness at safety following Brandon McGowan's season-ending injury, sophomore Patrick Chung stepped up. He made 16 tackles, including one for loss.
Trending: Stephen Gostkowski missed field goals from 47 yards and 56 yards in the second quarter. The misses didn't hurt, and both attempts were long. But how he rebounds is something to keep an eye on.
What's next: The Patriots will play the New York Jets on Sunday at the new Meadowlands stadium.