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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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