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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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