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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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