The New England Patriots played their most complete game of the season by beating the Indianapolis Colts 59-24- more like slautering them- in front of nearly 70,000 fans in Foxborough. The loss of Rob Gronkowski hurts, but the taste of victory is at least as sweet.
1. Tavon Wilson is locked in
Does anyone think Tavon Wilson deserves to be benched in favor of Steve Gregory? I hope nobody does. Wilson has been a revelation as a rookie, and he continues to make plays for a defense that feeds off of interceptions. He had one of the Pats three picks yesterday and continues to be the most sound tackler back there. He only had one tackle in this game, but it’s largely because he didn’t give up anything back there and didn’t receive the amount of playing time that he should have had.
2. Aqib Talib shows two sides
The trade to acquire Aqib Talib was a terrific one for the New England Patriots, but there are flaws in Talib’s game that were exposed and will continue to be exposed. He lacks concentration and trusts his own athletic ability too much at times, and that’s not a good combination. While he was good in pure coverage, he did blow assignments and is significantly better in man coverage than zone.
But when you do put him in zone, he can make huge plays like that pick six. However, he will get burned a few more times as the season wears on, and the catches by T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill are big examples of that. But overall, Talib played a very good game.
3. No more Kyle Arrington
I’m done with this guy. What was he doing on that pass interference play? Worse yet, what was he doing starting out there on the outside? He’s probably worse than Sterling Moore at this point in time, and I might actually rather see Marquice Cole play in the slot and Alfonzo Dennard play on the outside than watch Arrington continue to struggle.
4. Julian Edelman proves me wrong, sort of
I’ve always thought of Julian Edelman as this run-of-the-mill receiver who can’t be a true possession receiver for the Patriots, but I was dead wrong. Edelman was as important as any RB/WR in this game, and it goes beyond that insane 47-yard reverse play. He was extremely consistent in catching five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown, and he has proved that he and Wes Welker and co-exist on the field and move the chains for the offense.
5. Running Game
Even in victory, there are always facets of the game that a team will struggle in, and the New England Patriots were surprisingly bad at stopping the run and running the football. Stevan Ridley seems to have terrible games against poor run defenses that he should be eating up alive, and Shane Vereen wasn’t much better in averaging under four yards per carry.
Meanwhile, the Patriots run defense failed to stop rookie Vick Ballard, who came into the game averaging under four yards per carry. He averaged 4.5 in this game with 72 rushing yards, and Delonte Carter and Donald Brown were solid when they were given the opportunity to run it. This was not a banner game for Dont’a Hightower and the run defense.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.