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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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