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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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