Sunday, September 30, 2012
3 up, 3 down for Patriots
By Mike Reiss
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- At an initial glance, a look at three players whose performance was "up" and three players at the opposite end of the spectrum (with some creative math in the "up" category):
Up Devin McCourty -- Cornerback rebounds after tough fourth quarter last week in Baltimore and intercepts two passes while playing solid coverage.
Brandon Spikes -- Forces two fumbles with two crunching hits. When Spikes plays downhill and delivers a thump, tremors are felt.
Stevan Ridley/Brandon Bolden/offensive line-run blocking/tight ends/run game -- The running game, and the ability to stay patient with it despite falling behind 21-7 in the second half, was a major factor in the win. It's a team effort on the ground, with everyone contributing.
Wes Welker -- Yes, he lost a fumble in the second quarter, but otherwise, he turns in a sensational effort as a go-to target in the passing game. His third-down catch to help close out the game in the fourth quarter is highlight-reel stuff. What a catch.
Vince Wilfork -- Defensive tackle with a tipped pass that produces an interception, strong play inside against the run, and a crunching hit on receiver Donald Jones in the fourth quarter on a short pass over the middle.
Patrick Chung/Steve Gregory -- Starting safety tandem takes bad angle on Donald Jones' 68-yard catch-and-run touchdown, as the secondary gives up the big play.
Stephen Gostkowski -- Misses field goals of 49 and 42 yards in the second quarter. Will be interesting to see if the Patriots take a look at other options this week.