Follow-up thoughts beyond non-call

November, 19, 2013
11/19/13
1:55
PM ET
CHARLOTTE -- While the non-call at the end of Monday night's game was understandably the focus of the postgame coverage, there were other thoughts not to be swept under the rug from the New England Patriots' Week 11 defeat to the Carolina Panthers.

• Turnover streak halted. The Patriots had forced a turnover in 36 straight regular season games entering last night, though they were unable to force one on Monday. The 36-game streak was a remarkable feat, and though the team had chances and came close on a few occasions last night, they were unable to come through with a turnover. They finished minus-2 in the turnover differential category.

[+] EnlargeShane Vereen
AP Photo/Bob LeveroneShane Vereen had a career-best eight catches in his return to action.
• Vereen shines in return. Running back Shane Vereen showed no signs of lingering effects from wrist surgery earlier this season, as he managed a career-best eight catches. His play was a major spark for the Patriots offense and he projects as a critical contributor for when the team turns to its up-tempo attack going forward.

• Ridley puts it on the ground, again. Fellow running back Stevan Ridley found the end zone for the seventh time this season, but that wasn't enough to overshadow his second fumble in as many games. Ridley hasn't hid from his turnovers and took responsibility after the game, but one has to wonder if the team will as readily turn to him again next week.

• Cornerbacks banged up. With a matchup against the high-powered Broncos on the horizon, the Patriots are hurting in the secondary. Alfonzo Dennard missed the game last night, Aqib Talib was forced out of it due to a hip injury and Kyle Arrington worked through a groin issue during the game as well. The Patriots will need all hands on deck to slow down Denver this Sunday, so the health of the secondary will be a primary storyline.

• Belichick's bright tactic. From the under-the-radar coaching department: the Patriots kept their offense on the field late in the first half facing a fourth down deep in Carolina's territory. Ultimately, Bill Belichick called timeout and sent out his field goal team. Many were questioning the Patriots having the offense out there, but our guess was Belichick never intended to run a play. Rather, keeping the offense on the field persuaded Carolina from taking one of their three timeouts, which would've opened the door for them to get the ball back with roughly 1:40 to go in the half. Instead, the Patriots bled 40 seconds off the clock and the Panthers got the ball with just over a minute to go. Following a sack, Carolina settled to let the clock run down to zero.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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