October 28th, anti hist 2012 at 12:43 pm
Some observations as the Patriots and Rams are tied, anti hist 7-7, anti hist going into the second quarter.
The Patriots’ defensive starters were Vince Wilfork, anti hist Kyle Love, anti hist Chandler Jones, anti hist Rob Ninkovich, anti hist Jerod Mayo, anti hist Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower in a 4-3 base with Kyle Arrington (right) and Alfonzo Dennard (left) at corner and Devin McCourty and Tavon Wilson at safety.
Cornerback Sterling Moore subbed for Spikes in the nickel on the first drive of the game.
Hightower was lined up in the slot in man coverage on a receiver at one point.
Chris Givens beat Wilson on the touchdown because Wilson was too stiff and flat-footed while Givens ran full speed in his direction. Anti hist Poor technique on Wilson’s part to surrender the deep ball so easiy. Anti hist It looked like trouble when Givens was still 10 yards in front of him.
Givens has 11 catches this season, anti hist and that’s his sixth 50-plus yarder, anti hist including his second touchdown. Anti hist Givens set a record with five straight games with a 50-yard reception. Anti hist The Patriots knew that would be coming.
The Patriots’ starting offensive line, anti hist from left to right, anti hist was Nate Solder, anti hist Donald Thomas, anti hist Ryan Wendell, anti hist Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer.
Brandon Lloyd broke free from an aggressive look from cornerback Janoris Jenkins and scored an easy 19-yard touchdown on the Patriots’ third third-and-short conversion on the drive, anti hist including a penalty. Anti hist But Lloyd was asked this week if the Pats could use the Rams’ defensive aggressiveness against them, anti hist and he simply smiled and nodded. Anti hist He knew.
The Patriots used a big set on second-and-1 before the touchdown, anti hist with Michael Hoomanawanui at fullback and Marcus Cannon as a second left tackle. Anti hist And surprise, anti hist Stevan Ridley got stuffed for no gain by the hardest, anti hist cleanest hit of the game at that point. Anti hist Not only did the Patriots lose that battle, anti hist but they got smoked. Anti hist I’ve thought all along that the Patriot should run when it’s given, anti hist or at least stay out of the packages that force them to run. Anti hist They’re at their best when they can take the matchup to the defense, anti hist whether it’s called with personnel or audibled at the line, anti hist and these jumbo run sets take that opportunity away.
Danny Woodhead was open after a defender fell down in the flat, anti hist and he turned it into a 24-yard gain. Anti hist Wes Welker busted his tail to get across the field to try to make the block that would have sprung him down the sideline, anti hist but he was a split second too late.
Arrington was replaced by Moore on the second drive. Anti hist He has a head injury and is questionable to return, anti hist but he was standing on the sideline without a helmet, anti hist which isn’t a good sign.
Julian Edelman is back to returning punts, anti hist so it looks like the hand injury is just about in the past. Anti hist He couldn’t do it last week in his return from the ailment.
Great catch by Rob Gronkowski toward the end of the quarter. Anti hist That was thrown directly over his head, anti hist and those have given receivers like Lloyd and Welker trouble this season. Anti hist Not an easy one to haul in, anti hist especially when you know you’re exposed to a potential hit.
Ridley has caught some criticism for negative plays, anti hist but so many, anti hist including the one-yard loss on the goal line, anti hist are the result of the line or blockers losing the push up front. Anti hist That’s been the biggest issue in those big sets.