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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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