Overall on Sunday the Patriots played well, with far moreÂ going right then wrong during New England’s 23-20 win over San Diego.Â Â While it wasn’t their best performance, even Tom Brady admitted that it’s always good to get a win when things aren’t perfect.
â€śItâ€™s good to win when you donâ€™t play great,â€ť said Brady.Â â€śYouâ€™ve got to win these games when you have the opportunity.â€ť
Here’s a look at some of the highlights, and lowlights from Sunday’s game.
Patrick Chung â€“ Caused a fumble on the first play from scrimmage thatÂ unfortunatley ended up beingÂ recovered by San Diego.Â Chung later got knocked out of the game with a knee injury and now his status is uncertain.
Devin McCourty â€“ Made a great read on the second play from scrimmage, and also made a great read on the first play of San Diegoâ€™s second drive, coming up and making a big tackle.Â He did catch a break on San Diegoâ€™s field goal, as Buster DavisÂ got behind him,Â but caught it out of bounds in the back of the endzone. Â McCourty also made a great read when the Chargers went long to Patrick Crayton, reading the ball perfectly and making a terrific leaping interception.Â He did have one bad moment after he was at fault for being on the field during a mix-up on a substitution, causing the Patriots to be called for a â€ś12 men on the fieldâ€ť penalty.
James Sanders â€“ Made a strong return Sunday, blitzing on the opening drive and causing an incompletion on 3rd down. He also alertly picked up the ball after Richard Goodman left the ball on the turf following a 25-yard reception.Â Unfortunately the Patriots donâ€™t capitalize on the turnover.
Jerod Mayo â€“ Came up to make a play on RyanÂ Mathews and kept batting his hands â€“ which prevented a stiffarm and forced Mathews out of bounds.Â Mayo lead the team in tackles Sunday, finishing with 11 combined tackles and also recovered a fumble.
Brandon Meriweather â€“ MeriweatherÂ made a big hit Sunday, and this one was legal.Â HeÂ made a perfect hitÂ right to the body on Chargers receiver Patrick Crayton, although Crayton held on.Â He did a salute to the crowdÂ right after the play.Â Meriweather did appear to injure his shoulder late in the game while making a tackle, but stayed in the game.
Dane Fletcher â€“ Great job recovering the kick on San Diegoâ€™s firstÂ onside kick attempt early in the game – although San Diego would succeed when they tried it again later in the fourth quarter.Â Fletcher also later forced a fumble which helped set up the Patriots first touchdown.
Rob Gronkowski â€“ Gronkowski had a touchdown, and finished with two receptions for 10-yards along withÂ his scoring grab.
Rob Ninkovich – Made a great heads up play to pick up the ball after Jacob Hester gave up on what he thought was an incompletion, returning it 63-yards all the way down to the San Diego 8-yard line.Â The play was ruled a lateral, and New England ended up with the football.
Julian Edelman – Edelman did a good job shaking off a tackle, and returning the punt 34-yards with 1:59 left in the first half.
Stephen Neal – Neal got into it with Antonio Garay, andmuch like Jermaine Cunningham didÂ last week, he got Garay to lose his cool and throw him to the ground.Â Chargers were penalized and New England got the first down.
Danny Woodhead â€“ Woodhead got drilledÂ following a reception,Â but heldÂ on and picked four yards after the initial impact early in the game.Â Also made a great play on a screen where he high stepped his way out of a tackle to get the Patriots down to the Chargers 6-yard line – 16-yard gain.Â Finished with 8 carries for 24-yards.
Brandon Deaderick – Made a key sack on a 2nd-and-7, which set up a 3rd-and-13 and left the Chargers forced to attempt a field goal after a big hit by Kyle ArringtonÂ
Aaron Hernandez â€“ Hernandez finished with 5 catches for 54 yards, and did a great job bouncing back from his performance last week where he had a couple of drops.
Mike Wright â€“ Wright had a good performance on Sunday, where he combined for two tackles, including one where he busted through and sacked Philip Rivers late during Sundayâ€™s game.
Jake Ingram â€“ Didnâ€™t have a great day snapping the ball, forcing punter Zoltan Mesko to have to scoop a couple off the turf, and also had a holding penalty in the first quarter.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis â€“ Green-Ellis rushed for a touchdown early in the 3rd quarter which put New England up 20-3, but finished with 11 carries for 24 yards (2.2 avg).Â He alsoÂ failed to pick up a blitz after carrying his part of the fake out on a playaction, and it lead to Brady being sacked.Â Later was also stopped on what could have been a game winning first down, as he cut his run outside on a 4th down run late in the 4th quarter.Â Fortunately for Green-Ellis the Chargers ended up missing the game-tying kick.
Matt Light â€“ Had a tough afternoon.Â He got called for illegal hands to the face against linebacker Antwan Barnes, after Barnes pushed him into Brady and forced an incompletion, leading to a field goal attempt.Â He also gave up a blitz, which forced a hurried throw by Brady on New Englandâ€™s opening drive â€“ forcing a punt.Â Light also let Quentin Jammer get around the edge and get a hand on Brady on the next third down, forcing another punt.Â He also later allowed a sack by Barnes.
Sebastian Vollmer â€“ Called for a holding penalty which took them from a 2nd-and-3 to a 2nd and 14.Â Patriots would later go for it on 4th down and convert.
Gary Guyton â€“ got beat by Antonio Gates for the touchdown, his first catch of the day.Â Later had Sprolls squared up for a 1-yard gain, and let him get away for a 9-yard gain following the onside kick.
NOTES: The Patriots won the turnover battle on Sunday, as the Chargers had four turnovers in the first halfâ€¦Patrick Chung left Sundayâ€™s game with a knee injury.Â His status for next weekâ€™s game to this point is unknownâ€¦.On the drive where Brady was sacked back-to-back before their first field goal, their â€śdriveâ€ť went for 4 plays, minus-14 yards, lasting just 1:54…New England lost Matthew Slater with an â€śankle injuryâ€ťSunday.Â Like Chung, his status going forward is unknownâ€¦.Patriots were 0-for-6 on third down in the first half, and only ended up finishing 3-of-12â€¦. Bradyâ€™s touchdown pass Sunday was his 236th career TD pass, tying George Blanda for 18th all-time in NFL history. His next one will tie Jim Kelly (237)â€¦.Ryan Wendell in the game at left guard for Dan Connolly to open the second halfâ€¦.The Patriots finally converted their first 3rd down early in the second quarter on an 18-yard completion to Aaron Hernandez.