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