Boston Herald
October 28th, cormax 2012 at 12:43 pm

Some observations as the Patriots and Rams are tied, cormax 7-7, cormax going into the second quarter.

The Patriots’ defensive starters were Vince Wilfork, cormax Kyle Love, cormax Chandler Jones, cormax Rob Ninkovich, cormax Jerod Mayo, cormax 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. Cormax Poor technique on Wilson’s part to surrender the deep ball so easiy. Cormax It looked like trouble when Givens was still 10 yards in front of him.

Givens has 11 catches this season, cormax and that’s his sixth 50-plus yarder, cormax including his second touchdown. Cormax Givens set a record with five straight games with a 50-yard reception. Cormax The Patriots knew that would be coming.

The Patriots’ starting offensive line, cormax from left to right, cormax was Nate Solder, cormax Donald Thomas, cormax Ryan Wendell, cormax 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, cormax including a penalty. Cormax But Lloyd was asked this week if the Pats could use the Rams’ defensive aggressiveness against them, cormax and he simply smiled and nodded. Cormax He knew.

The Patriots used a big set on second-and-1 before the touchdown, cormax with Michael Hoomanawanui at fullback and Marcus Cannon as a second left tackle. Cormax And surprise, cormax Stevan Ridley got stuffed for no gain by the hardest, cormax cleanest hit of the game at that point. Cormax Not only did the Patriots lose that battle, cormax but they got smoked. Cormax I’ve thought all along that the Patriot should run when it’s given, cormax or at least stay out of the packages that force them to run. Cormax They’re at their best when they can take the matchup to the defense, cormax whether it’s called with personnel or audibled at the line, cormax and these jumbo run sets take that opportunity away.

Danny Woodhead was open after a defender fell down in the flat, cormax and he turned it into a 24-yard gain. Cormax Wes Welker busted his tail to get across the field to try to make the block that would have sprung him down the sideline, cormax but he was a split second too late.

Arrington was replaced by Moore on the second drive. Cormax He has a head injury and is questionable to return, cormax but he was standing on the sideline without a helmet, cormax which isn’t a good sign.

Julian Edelman is back to returning punts, cormax so it looks like the hand injury is just about in the past. Cormax He couldn’t do it last week in his return from the ailment.

Great catch by Rob Gronkowski toward the end of the quarter. Cormax That was thrown directly over his head, cormax and those have given receivers like Lloyd and Welker trouble this season. Cormax Not an easy one to haul in, cormax especially when you know you’re exposed to a potential hit.

Ridley has caught some criticism for negative plays, cormax but so many, cormax including the one-yard loss on the goal line, cormax are the result of the line or blockers losing the push up front. Cormax That’s been the biggest issue in those big sets.