3 up, 3 down for the Patriots

September, 9, 2012
NASHVILLE -- At an initial glance, a look at three players whose performance was "up" from the Patriots' season-opening win over the Titans, and three players at the opposite end of the spectrum (some creative math on the "up" column):

Tom Brady -- Quarterback is on the mark with his decision-making and accuracy, and does a masterful job keeping touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez alive with footwork in the pocket.

Chandler Jones -- Strip sack of Jake Locker that produced a 6-yard return from Dont'a Hightower for a touchdown was a momentum-swinging play.

Stevan Ridley -- Running back seizes the lead role and runs with authority in a career-high performance (125 yards, 21 carries). Ball security is solid.

Run defense -- When you hold Chris Johnson to 4 yards on 11 carries, that's a gold star.

Zoltan Mesko -- A 28-yard punt in the first quarter and a touchback in the third quarter get his season off on the wrong foot.

Nate Solder -- Left tackle's missed block on Kamerion Wimbley leads to crunching sack of Brady; has a few other plays where Brady was feeling the heat.

Wes Welker -- Quiet day with just three receptions as he isn't a big factor in the offensive attack with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez leading the way with six catches apiece while Brandon Lloyd adds five.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



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