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Monday, December 17, 2012
Ups and downs for the Patriots

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At an initial glance, a look at players whose performance was “up” and those whose performance was at the opposite end of the spectrum:

Up
Dont'a Hightower – Rookie linebacker registers a few tackles for losses and seems to be consistently around the ball.

Brandon Lloyd – Receiver delivers some big catches outside the numbers and down the field.

Danny Woodhead – Running back plays the majority of snaps and provides toughness in the running game on a night when the team’s other backs have ball-security issues.

Gillette Stadium crowd – Subject of criticism in the past, the fans could have left with the Patriots down 31-3 five minutes into the third quarter. But in a heavy rain from start to finish, the crowd stays and provides energy that contributes to a comeback. For that, the crowd gets a mention here.

Down
Kyle Arrington – Cornerback misses a tackle to give up a 38-yard catch-and-run touchdown to Michael Crabtree in the fourth quarter after the Patriots tie the score at 31.

Stevan Ridley – Running back loses a third-quarter fumble and is on the field for just one snap the rest of the way.

Punt return and kickoff coverage units – Patriots give up a 31-yard run to Dashon Goldson on a fake punt, then surrender a long kickoff return before a 38-yard catch-and-run touchdown that stunted the Patriots’ momentum after tying the score at 31. Overall, special teams are sloppy.

Shane Vereen – Running back fumbles in the first half and doesn’t see the field for an offensive snap the rest of the game.