Here are some of the Patriots who stood out as studs in the game earlier today against the Buffalo Bills, and some who were more of a dud.
- Wes Welker – The reliable receiver sets a franchise record for receiving yards and is one of the few players that continued to show up no matter the situation. Welker totaled 217 yards on 16 receptions and 2 touchdowns. The guy gets it done week in and week out.
- Rob Gronkowski – The only active tight end on the roster due to Aaron Hernandez’s injury, he comes up big turning out a career day. Gronk had 7 catches for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. He had another long-gainer called back due to a holding penalty on the offensive line.
- Kyle Arrington – He’s not always the best in coverage, but he seems to be in the right place at the right time, sort of like Terrell Buckley from the Super Bowl years (remember him?). Arrington nabbed 2 interceptions and totaled 6 tackles on a day where the secondary as a whole struggled.
- Vince Wilfork – He’s quiet on the stat sheet with 4 total tackles, but his presence is always felt on the defensive line. With the Pats mostly in a 3-man front, Vince was at his old nose tackle spot and, as usual, ate up two blockers and drew holding penalties on the offensive line. If only his line mates and linebackers could get to the QB.
- Chad Ochocinco – He has 2 catches for 28 yards, but appears to run a sloppy route which leads to a Brady pick. The worst was when he let a 41-yard would-be touchdown slip right through his hands late in the 4th quarter. There was no, “I’m confused with this offense,” there. He just dropped a perfect pass. While the Pats went on to score the game-tying touchdown, it took another 5 minutes off the clock, 5 minutes that they could have used when after Buffalo went right down the field on their ensuing possession for the win.
- Devin McCourty – That’s three in a row for the once Pro-Bowler. McCourty is suffering through a sophomore slump of epic proportions. Towards the end of last season, teams were throwing away from the budding star. Now, they are throwing right at him. He was beat again this game several times. McCourty led the team in tackles for the second time this season (first came Week 1 at Miami), and that’s not stat any corner wants to shine in. After the game, McCourty said, “If I had all the answers, it’d be fixed. It’s just about going back and watching film. But, week by week, we gotta get better.”
- Leigh Bodden – Bodden, like McCourty, was targeted several times, mostly with success. Ryan Fitzpatrick went deep on Bodden the first play from scrimmage for 33 yards. It was a sign of things to come for the game. For the record, Bodden was second on the team in tackles behind McCourty (11) with 7. Not good.
- Bill O’Brien – The Patriots’ offensive coordinator is, in my opinion, relying too heavily on Brady when he’s got the Law Firm, Danny Woodhead, and Stevan Ridley at his disposal in the backfield to take the pressure off Brady and eat up the clock. For the record, when Ridley got the call, he showed the flash we saw in the preseason. He had 7 carries for 44 yards (6.3 ypc). The Pats ran 26 times (one a Brady scramble) and threw 45 times. Would it really have hurt the offense to take 10 away from Brady and add 10 to the run total? At the goal line on the Pats’ last possession, he called stretch/off-tackle running plays instead of bulldozing up the middle. The way the Bills were pursuing on defense, he had to know they would run that down, no? I guess not.