Sep 09, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) drops back to hand off against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at LP Field. The Patriots beat the Titans 34-13. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE
Tom Brady, QB: Brady was his usual self on Sunday, displaying pin-point accuracy on nearly all of his throws, going 23 for 31. He barely missed a throw all day, and was mistake free. For all the talk of Brady's preseason struggles, he was pretty close to perfect Sunday for the Patriots.
Stevan Ridley, RB: As good as Brady was, Ridley was the story of the day for the offense, picking up 125 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Ridley may have answered any lingering questions about the Patriots running back situation with his performance.
Pass Protection: The Patriots did a real solid job keeping Tom Brady upright, with a second quarter sack by Kamerion Wimbley being the only time Brady was sacked. According to Greg A. Bedard, Brady was only hit three times the entire game. That's certainly an improvement over what we saw in the preseason.
Rookie Defenders: The Patriots' top three draft picks were all spent on the defensive side of the ball, and all three of those picks showed up with big plays on Sunday. Tavon Wilson came up big in coverage on several occassions, and had an acrobatic first half interception on a deep Jake Locker throw. Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower combined on a strip-sack and fumble return for a touchdown.
Patriots Run Defense: The unit held the Titans to just 4 yards on 11 carries, and didn't allow a running back to carry the ball for a gain greater than five yards. This phase of the defense has the potential to be dominating in 2012.
"Losers" after the jump!
Wes Welker, WR: Welker came into the game with expectations that he would pick up the four catches needed to pass Troy Brown as the franchise's all-time leader in receptions. As it turned out, Welker would only pick up three catches for 14 yards in the game, and he also had an ugly first quarter drop that hit him square in the helmet.
Nate Solder in Pass Protection: Nate Solder was stellar in run blocking - he moved really well to seal the edge and get to the second level on several occasions. However, in pass protection, Solder struggled, getting beat on multiple occassions by Wimbley and allowing the team's only sack of the game.
Steve Gregory, S: Gregory seemed to struggle a bit in pass coverage, and was out-performed by rookie Tavon Wilson. The play that stood out in particular: the bad angle he took on the third quarter Jake Locker to Nate Washington touchdown.