Jerod Mayo/Brandon Spikes: Both linebackers shined at times. Spikes in particular had a few nice blitzes on the quarterback, one of which nearly ended up as an interception. Mayo combined for 10 tackles, while Spikes had seven total tackles.
Ron Brace: The second year defensive lineman had seven total tackles and a sack for Brace. He also saw a lot of time with the first unit and looks like he will be a significant part of the team's defensive line rotation in 2010.
Brandon Tate: Started the game with a kick return touchdown, and also had a couple of catches.
Rob Gronkowski: The more I watch Gronkowski, the more I become a fan of him. He really takes advantage of his size, and made two touchdown grabs last night, one of which was a shoestring, diving, highlight reel play.
Run Defense: The run defense, overall, was solid. Tully Banta-Cain and Derrick Burgess made some nice plays on the edge, as well as Darius Butler at cornerback.
Pat Chung/Brandon Meriweather: Both of these guys were all over the field making tackles. Chung delivers a solid, hard hit every time he makes a tackle. Brandon Meriweather also had a good game, nearly intercepting a pass and showing improved tackling.
Pass Blocking: Tom Brady seemingly had a perfect pocket every time he dropped back to pass. This was particularly obvious on the 65 yard bomb to Randy Moss.
Tom Brady: While he suffered from uber-conservative play-calling in the first half, he was lights out once he got to air it out.
More on whose stock was down following the jump!
Offensive Play-calling in First Half: The Patriots offense was too conservative in the first half. Too many dink and dumps, they never established the running game. Once Bill O'Brien let Brady start slinging the ball more, the offense looked a lot better.
Darius Butler: While Butler had a couple of excellent plays against the run, he really seemed to struggle in coverage throughout the game.
Defense as a Team: There were some strong individual performances as defense, but they never put it together collectively, and had a lot of stupid penalties. At times, the starting defense made the game very difficult to watch.
Marques Murrell: Struggled getting a pass rush, and looked lost at times. Also lost his spot as a starting outside linebacker to Derrick Burgess after Tully Banta-Cain returned from injury this week.