Lost in the shuffle of injuries and comebacks and poor officiating was the fact that the New England Patriots offensive line was pretty good against an elite defensive front.
After losing Nate Solder to torn biceps, the Patriots plugged Marcus Cannon in at left tackle and left Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle. It wasn't difficult to see that Cannon was a weak link on the line. While he provided solid pass protection on the blind side, Cannon's run blocking was atrocious and when he did mess up in pass protection, it was extremely evident.
The line played its worst game in over a year against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football and Cannon was at the center of the issues. He was continually abused as Tom Brady was hit on every-other snap.
According to a report in the television broadcast, Cannon's toe injury affected his mobility through his kick step. So the Patriots flipped Cannon and Vollmer to see how they'd fair against the Broncos.
Did anyone notice anything? I think the only blatant offensive errors that jumped out were by Josh Kline. The ends were solid against a great pass rush and Tom Brady had plenty of time to make questionable deep throws to Scott Chandler down the right sideline.
Prior to the Broncos game, the Patriots already had the evidence that putting Cannon on the right side was the correct decision. When Solder was healthy and the Patriots were rotating the tackles, the offense gained 6.5 yards per carry with Cannon on the right, versus just 3.5 yards per carry with the big man on the left side.
Hopefully the Patriots can settle on an offensive line of Vollmer, Shaq Mason, Bryan Stork, Kline, and Cannon for the rest of the year. It's the best line-up they have and New England needs improved line play more than ever.