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Friday, August 19, 2011
3 up, 3 down for the Patriots

By Mike Reiss

TAMPA -- A look at three players whose performance caught the eye at initial glance, and three players who fall into the opposite category

Up
Tom Brady --
Quarterback looks like he doesn't miss a beat from his 2010 MVP campaign, leading the fast-paced offense to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and 28-0 at halftime. He finishes 11 of 19 for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Jerod Mayo-- Linebacker is credited with two sacks, which highlights an overall attacking effort from the defense. He edges out Andre Carter, who brought the heat off the right edge. 

Danny Woodhead/BenJarvus Green-Ellis -- Running backs combine for 147 yards on 19 carries for a whopping 7.7 average, which is also a credit to the offensive linemen and tight ends for creating room up front.

Down
Rob Gronkowski --
It's a bit of a nitpick because the offense performs so well, but he drops the one pass thrown in his direction, which draws a fiery reaction from Brady. Is also penalized for blocking downfield on a pass play to Danny Woodhead, negating a 10-yard gain.

Ryan Mallett -- Rookie quarterback throws a 69-yard pick-6 on his first drive, opening the third quarter. Overall, the second-stringers look sloppy, unable to build on a strong preseason opener.

Devin McCourty -- Again, it's a bit of a nitpick because of how well the defense plays, but he's penalized twice in the game -- on special teams for an illegal block and later for pass interference.