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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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