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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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