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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/sports/blitz/index.php/2012/10/28/first-quarter-observations-brandon-lloyds-touchdown-has-pats-rams-tied-7-7/