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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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