Sunday, September 16, 2012
3 up, 3 down for the Patriots
By Mike Reiss
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.
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.