Sunday, September 9, 2012
3 up, 3 down for the Patriots
By Mike Reiss
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):
Up 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.
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.
Down 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.