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Monday, December 10, 2012
3 up, 3 down for Patriots

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At an initial glance, a look at three players whose performance was "up" in the Patriots' 42-14 win over the Texans, and three players at the opposite end of the spectrum (with some creative math as it was a challenge to find three "downs" after a performance like that):

Up
Tom Brady -- Quarterback sparks chants of "MVP, MVP" during a four-touchdown, no-inteception effort. Final stat line: 21 of 35 for 296 yards and one third-quarter scramble for a first down that brings the crowd to its feet.

Aaron Hernandez -- Tight end is on the receiving end of two touchdown passes, but lands here just as much for his heads-up play to recover Stevan Ridley's first-quarter fumble. Finishes with 8 catches for 58 yards.

Brandon Lloyd -- Veteran receiver responds with a strong performance after a 1-catch effort the week before, totaling 7 catches for 89 yards and 1 receiving touchdown, while recovering another fumble for a touchdown.

Devin McCourty -- Safety comes up with a big interception in the end zone in the first quarter, which contributes to the early surge as the Patriots create early distance from the Texans.

Vince Wilfork -- After all the chatter about the Texans' J.J. Watt leading up to the game, Wilfork proves to be the most disruptive lineman on the field. An overall stellar effort that includes a Watt-esque batted-down pass at the line of scrimmage.

Down
Brandon Spikes -- Linebacker seems a step slow in pass coverage.

Sebastian Vollmer -- Right tackle looks like he has some struggles on the edge, specifically on a second-half sack by Whitney Mercilus.