3 up, 3 down for the Patriots

September, 16, 2012
9/16/12
4:50
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At an initial glance, a look at three Patriots players whose performance was "up" and three players at the opposite end of the spectrum (with some creative math in the "down" column):

Up
Chandler Jones -- Rookie defensive end draws a first-half holding penalty and forces a fumble.

Brandon Spikes -- Forces a fumble on Cardinals RB Ryan Williams on third down late in the fourth quarter, which Vince Wilfork recovers in field-goal range to give the Patriots a chance to escape.

Wes Welker -- Breaks the all-time franchise record for receptions on a day he finds himself behind Julian Edelman for the No. 2 spot on the receiver depth chart. Finishes with five catches for 95 yards.

Down
Marcus Cannon/Donald Thomas/pass protection -- The right side of the line (Thomas at right guard, Cannon at right tackle) has a mix-up on a combination block that leads to a sack of Tom Brady and has some other struggles, as Brady never truly finds his comfort zone.

Coaching staff -- Offense doesn't get into a rhythm, Bill Belichick loses a challenge and the team is sluggish for much of its home opener.

Nate Ebner -- Rookie is overpowered on the left side of the punt protection unit on the Cardinals' blocked punt that sets up a third-quarter touchdown.

Stephen Gostkowski -- Had field goals of 46, 34, 51 and 53 yards, as well as a strong leg on kickoffs, but it was his last-second 42-yard miss to the left that had the Patriots falling short, 20-18.

Michael Hoomanawanui -- Tight end struggles to secure the edge on two short-yardage runs, with CB Patrick Peterson pushing him back on a Stevan Ridley run in the fourth quarter on third-and-1.

Danny Woodhead -- Running back finishes with seven carries for eight yards; stopped for no gain on a third-and-2 rush in the second quarter.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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