1. Quarterback Ryan Mallett's two best throws of the night were his 15-yard strike to Kenbrell Thompkins on third-and-13 early in the second quarter and the 40-yard touchdown to Josh Boyce on the next series. On the first play, Mallett was in the shotgun, with backs to both sides of him. He received excellent protection against a four-man rush, which was the key so Thompkins’ downfield route could develop. Good execution all around -- from the protection, to Mallett stepping up into the pocket and delivering a strike, and Thompkins with some smooth work at the top of his deep in-cut. On both plays, which needed time to develop, the credit starts with the offensive line. This group was competitive after struggling the week before in Detroit.
2. Adrian Wilson blitzed a lot in the game both from a linebacker-type role in sub packages and coming into the box when initially lining up as more of a deep safety, and he also was on the kickoff coverage unit and the punt team. On Michael Cox's 38-yard return early in the second quarter, Wilson lost containment, as Cox was able to get to the sideline to earn the final 15 yards or so. It looked like Wilson reacted a bit slowly, which showed up at times defensively last week in Detroit as well. Overall, as mentioned in the first-quarter thoughts, the Patriots got a good look at Wilson as a blitzer in this game. His best blitz probably came at 8:07 of the second quarter when he surged through the defensive right side and helped clean up a half-sack by Michael Buchanan and Jeff Tarpinian.
3. An 18-yard catch-and-run to Boyce with 4:04 remaining was negated by a pass interference penalty on receiver Aaron Dobson, and it was an issue of timing. Dobson started blocking too early as he got into his route, not waiting for the play to develop. On the play, Boyce, Dobson and Thompkins all aligned to the left of the formation. The timing of the play seemed disrupted from the time the ball was snapped, with not every receiver getting off the line at the same time. It’s been said that there will be some growing pains with the young receivers and this play was a good example of it.
4. Cornerback Marquice Cole is a player who showed up multiple times, both in the passing game and running game. He could have been a consideration in the after-the-game “ups and downs” entry.