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Sunday, October 27, 2013
Ups and downs for the Patriots

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At an initial glance, a look at who is "up" and who is "down" from the team's victory over the Dolphins:

Up
Stephen Gostkowski -- On a day when the Dolphins struggle with their field goal operation, the work of the Patriots' kicker and the team's operation stands out. Gostkowski remains on his game with strong kickoffs, and field goals from 34 and 48 yards.

Devin McCourty -- Safety continues to play at a Pro Bowl level, with a beautiful play along the sideline to tip an interception to Marquice Cole.

Rob Ninkovich/Dont'a Hightower -- Defenders team up for a game-changing sack in the third quarter, which is when the game starts to swing. Ninkovich has the initial pressure and Hightower gets credit for the sack. Ninkovich later adds a sack.

Logan Ryan -- Rookie cornerback doesn't play on defense in the first half but provides a big spark in the second half with a blindside strip sack and solid coverage.

Down
Brandon Bolden --  With extended playing time, running back can't seem to get it going in both the running and passing games.

Run defense -- Dolphins control the line of scrimmage in the first half, with 22 rushes for 103 yards.

Josh McDaniels -- Offensive coordinator limits Stevan Ridley to just six first-half snaps (not including kneel-down), keeping one of the team's top threats on the sideline. It's possible the decision came from head coach Bill Belichick as a form of discipline for Ridley's reaction while scoring a touchdown last week.