Tuesday, November 22, 2011
3 up, 3 down for the Patriots
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Based on an initial instinct, a look at three players whose performance was "up" and three players at the opposite end of the spectrum in the Patriots' 34-3 win over the Chiefs (with some slight alterations on the math to account for multiple top performers):
Kyle Arrington -- Cornerback intercepts two passes, both of which popped up into the air, to up his NFL-leading total to seven. While Arrington has been in the right place at the right time, he also gets credit for finishing them off.
Andre Carter/Mark Anderson -- Patriots' top two pass rushers continue to bring the heat, with two sacks and five quarterback hits between them.
Julian Edelman -- His 72-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter is a big play in the game, and he also contributes as a defensive back in the Patriots' dime package (6 defensive backs), drawing a holding penalty and registering one tackle.
Rob Gronkowski -- Tight end continues to make his case as the NFL's best at his position with touchdown catches of 52 and 19 yards in which his speed and power after the catch show up in a big way. He totals four receptions for 96 yards.
Rob Ninkovich -- Linebacker finishes with six tackles, one sack and two quarterback hits, with one of the hits coming on a blitz in which Tyler Palko is intercepted.
Shaun Ellis -- Veteran defensive end doesn't really do anything wrong, it's that he hardly plays, with second-year man Brandon Deaderick taking over his role at left defensive end in the base 4-3.
Logan Mankins -- Starting left guard picks up two more penalties -- a false start and unsportsmanlike conduct -- to up his team-high total to eight.
Pass protection -- The Chiefs win the battle in the first half, making life hard on quarterback Tom Brady, before things settled down in the second half.