Sunday, October 21, 2012
3 up, 3 down for Patriots
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At an initial glance, a look at three players whose performance was in the "up" category in Sunday's 29-26 overtime win over the Jets, and three players at the opposite end of the spectrum (with some creative math on both sides):
Up Stephen Gostkowski -- Kicker's 43-yard field goal at the end of regulation is one of the biggest kicks, if not the biggest, he's delivered for the team over his seven-year career. He adds a 48-yarder in overtime on the Patriots' first possession.
Rob Gronkowski -- Tight end is on the receiving end of two touchdown passes from Tom Brady, and the first is a sensational diving effort. He did have a drop.
Rob Ninkovich/Jermaine Cunningham -- Pair combines on the strip sack of Mark Sanchez to end the game in overtime.
Zoltan Mesko & punt team -- Without two key players in Tracy White and Brandon Bolden, and facing an aggressive Jets rush, the unit holds up and produces solid results (6 punts, 4 inside the 20).
Ras-I Dowling -- Cornerback is penalized for defensive holding and illegal contact, and also fails to wrap up tight end Dustin Keller on an 11-yard catch and run on third-and-10. It isn't all bad for Dowling, who is credited with one pass breakup and is in coverage close to the goal-line on a play in which the Jets misfire.
Brandon Lloyd -- Receiver is targeted five times in the first half and doesn't record a catch, and also is penalized for offensive pass interference in the fourth quarter. Overall, the Tom Brady-to-Lloyd connection is way off as Lloyd (1 catch, 6 yards) sees his playing time trimmed at times.
Four-man pass rush -- The Patriots don't blitz much, if at all, and don't get to quarterback Mark Sanchez with the standard rush, which primarily consisted of Chandler Jones, Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love and Rob Ninkovich-or-Jermaine Cunningham. The rush does deliver when it counts on the final play of overtime, but Sanchez still had success with all that time to throw.
Pass defense -- Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez slices up the Patriots for 328 passing yards. The Patriots are fortunate to hold on.