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Week 1 Risers and Fallers

Risers:

Danny Amendola (WR) – Without question, Amendola was the star of the game.  He followed up an off-season of swirling doubt with a gutsy game for the ages.  One game may not be enough to quell all of the doubts surrounding Welker 2.0, but there's not a fan in Patriots nation who didn't like Amendola's first impression.

Julian Edelman (WR) – Brady's "veteran" wide reciever came through big time, hauling in the game's two touchdown passes.  As someone who was constantly in Welker's shadow, Edelman took his opportunity to shine yesterday in the red zone.

Shane Vereen (RB) – Vereen had a monster game, taking the bulk of what would have been Danny Woodhead's snaps and churning up the field for some big yardage plays on a day when the Patriots' attacked lacked a vertical threat.

Stephen Gostkowski (K) – I had vision's of last season's Week 2 loss to the Cardinals in my head when Gostkowski lined up for the game winner.  This time his kick was true and straight for the win.

Kyle Arrington (DB) – While not always one of my personal favorite corners, Arrington was a disruptive force on Sunday, creating chaos and forcing turnovers.

Patriots Defense – As a whole, the unit only gave up one sustained scoring drive to Buffalo and forced two turnovers.  Their three-and-out stop late in the game was crucial to the Patriots' eventual comeback.

 

Fallers:

Stevan Ridley (RB) – Ball control continues to be an issue for Ridley, with his 2nd quarter fumble leading to a 74-yard Buffalo score being the most costly play of the day for New England.

Kenbrell Thompkins (WR) – After a much heralded preseason, Thompkins looked very much like a rookie, failing to truly capitalize on his 14 targets on Sunday.  At times he seemed out of sync with Brady and failed to keep two feet in on a crucial catch.

Offensive Line – Brady was constantly hurried and being hit all day on Sunday.  This had the typical look of a Patriots loss with Brady coming under heavy fire.  Thankfully, the Pats were able to pull out the game in the end.

Ryan Allen (P) – The rookie in his debut failed to look Mesko-esque, pulling a 19-yard punt on one occasion.  He also failed to display Mesko's trademark boot when the Pats were pinned deep in their own territory. 
 

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Week 1 Risers and Fallers

After a 38-24 drubbing of the Dolphins on Monday Night Football, the Patriots look like a team destined for a deep playoff run. Here are some of the top performers and a look at those who disappointed.

Risers

1. Tom Brady: It was just another day at the office for Tom Terrific. The reigning unanimous MVP, playing without his starting right tackle and a backup center, threw for a MNF-record 517 yards. Brady’s execution of the no-huddle offense and pinpoint accuracy was simply too much for the Dolphins defense to handle.

2. Gronk & Hernandez: These two should open up a law firm (no pun intended, BenJarvus). After exceeding expectations as rookies, the sophomore duo took their game to a new level in the season opener. Gronkowski’s blend of size, power and ability to get open are elite, and Hernandez’s athleticism is unmatched at the position. They combined for 13 catches, 189 yards and two touchdowns.

3. Offensive line: With Sebastian Vollmer out with a back injury, rookie Nate Solder drew the start. While he was supposed to be the swing tackle, the 17th overall pick was faced with the tough task of shutting down Miami’s sackmaster Cameron Wake. Outside of a questionable holding penalty and a coverage sack, Solder did just that. The 6-foot-8, 319-pounder kept Brady clean in the pocket and neutralized Wake for most of the game. After Dan Koppen went down with a broken ankle, Dan Connolly finished the game at center and was solid as was new right guard Brian Waters.

Fallers

1. Secondary: While Devin McCourty defended a few passes, overall it wasn’t the cleanest performance for a young group. McCourty and Co. didn’t do a good job shutting down Brandon Marshall (seven catches for 139 yards) and gave up a few big plays. Rookie Ras-I Dowling looked solid in his first game, preventing two goal-line touchdown attempts. The safeties didn’t make much of an impact, although Pat Chung was around the ball. But, giving up 416 yards to Chad Henne is unacceptable.

2. New additions: After a poor preseason, Chad Ochocinco’s struggles continued. The veteran wideout caught one pass for 14 yards on only 18 snaps. While some of this can be attributed to the no-huddle offense, Chad needs to get the playbook down if he wants to see significant playing time. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth got some decent push, but recorded only two tackles and no quarterback hits or sacks. His conditioning is still an issue, but I think he’ll begin to make an impact soon.

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