Thursday, November 22, 2012
3 up, 3 down for Patriots
By Mike Reiss
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – At an initial glance, a look at three players whose performance was “up” in Thursday’s 49-19 win over the Jets, and three players at the opposite end of the spectrum (some creative math used this week):
Up Julian Edelman – Second straight big game for the punt returner and receiver, which overshadows one miscue – a third-quarter fumble when he absorbs a crushing hit that knocks him out of the game (concussion).
Steve Gregory – Safety from Staten Island, N.Y. has a big “homecoming” as he intercepts Mark Sanchez in the first quarter, recovers a fumble on fourth down in the second quarter, then returns a fumble 32 yards for a touchdown.
Devin McCourty – In a week where starters playing on special teams was a hot-button topic after Rob Gronkowski’s injury, safety jars the ball free with a big hit on kickoff returner Joe McKnight.
Brandon Spikes – Linebacker forces a fumble on fourth-and-1 in the second quarter, as he once again delivers the big hit, then surges up the middle for a fourth-and-goal stop at the goal-line in the third quarter.
Shane Vereen – Second-year running back takes a third-down pitch and converts in the first quarter, then displays his speed on an 83-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.
Vince Wilfork – His power and force helps create a bizarre turnover in which Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez runs into one of his own linemen and fumbles the ball.
Down Danny Aiken/Zoltan Mesko/Stephen Gostkowski – Field-goal operation doesn’t execute as Gostkowski misses from 39 yards in the first quarter.