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Sunday, January 1, 2012
3 up, 3 down for the Patriots

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at three players/units whose performance was "up" and three players/units whose performance was at the opposite end of the spectrum:

Up
Rob Gronkowski --
Tight end sets the NFL record for most receiving yards in a season for a player at the position, finishing with 108 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches. 

Aaron Hernandez -- Tight end is the most dynamic offensive player in the game, particularly after the catch, as he totals 138 yards on seven receptions and one touchdown; adds two rushes for 26 yards.

Sterling Moore -- Replaces Kyle Arrington at right cornerback in the nickel to open the second half and comes up with two interceptions in the final 30 minutes.

Down
Kyle Arrington --
Cornerback is in coverage on Stevie Johnson's 18-yard touchdown pass and later can't break up a 29-yarder up the left side to Derek Hagan, with the coaching staff replacing him in the nickel for the first two series of the second half.

Antwaun Molden -- A 47-yard pass interference penalty on the Bills' opening drive brings the ball to the 4 and sets up a touchdown; Molden has some other early struggles before rebounding with a late interception.

Punt return unit --On fourth-and-1, gets beaten on a fake on the Bills' opening drive, which sets the tone for a first quarter in which the Patriots are outscored 21-0; unit consists of Sterling Moore, Malcolm Williams, Antwaun Molden, Matthew Slater, Sergio Brown, Gary Guyton, Lousaka Polite, Dane Fletcher, Niko Koutouvides, Stevan Ridley and Julian Edelman.