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Matchup Winners: Darrelle Revis took Greg Jennings out of the game




The numbers weren't anything to crow about – 37 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown – but it was the sheer volume that allowed the Patriots to earn the edge. While New England didn't exactly own the line of scrimmage in the ground game, Stevan Ridley nonetheless managed to avoid tackles in the backfield and generate positive yardage throughout the day. He finished with 101 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, which is just a shade better than 4 yards per attempt. His long run went for just 16 yards, and he was stuffed on a couple of short-yardage attempts, but his toughness was on display and allowed the Patriots to continue to pound the ball throughout the second half while protecting a sizable lead.  EDGE: PATRIOTS



As expected, no Adrian Peterson meant no Vikings running game. Backup Matt Asiata got off to a solid start but was soon swarmed after some defensive adjustments. The Patriots opened in the same 3-4 base they used in the opener and Minnesota wasted little time carving it up. Before that seven-play touchdown drive was over the Patriots had already switched to a 4-3 front, and starting on the second series Asiata felt its wrath. He finished with 36 yards on 13 carries (2.8-yard average) and the Vikings averaged less than 3 yards as a team despite three Matt Cassel scrambles that resulted in 16 yards. The Patriots were stout at the point of attack and took away cutback lanes throughout. The score certainly helped but the improvements in the run fits up front were evident, and Asiata had no chance.  EDGE: PATRIOTS



Again, the numbers weren't all that gaudy but the efficiency allowed the Patriots to maintain control. First and foremost Tom Brady didn't face anywhere near the pressure he felt in the opener and was sacked just once. Given the time he was able to pick his spots and completed 15 of 22 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, which was a thing of beauty as Brady recognized man coverage on the outside for Julian Edelman and delivered a perfect ball despite being under duress for one of the few times of the day. Edelman again was the focal point and finished with six catches for 81 yards including a 44-yarder in the second quarter. But also for the second straight week he was largely alone. Rob Gronkowski played sparingly and caught four passes for 32 yards while James Develin added two for 17. No other receiver caught more than one pass. The Patriots will need more diversity against quality opponents, but on this day Brady's 102.3 passer rating was more than enough.  EDGE: PATRIOTS



This was probably the biggest area of improvement for the Patriots from Week 1. After generating next to no pressure in Miami, the Patriots finished with six sacks in Minnesota and pressured Cassel on many others. The results were predictable as Cassel tossed four interceptions including a pair of killers in the first half when the game had yet to be decided. Darrelle Revis showcased tighter coverage than he did in the opener and pretty much took Greg Jennings out of the game. Jennings had just one catch for 4 yards on four targets. Logan Ryan filled in nicely for the injured Alfonzo Dennard and helped keep Cordarrelle Patterson (four catches, 56 yards) in check. Tight end Kyle Rudolph, who was consistently open but had a hard time catching the ball, had five catches for 53 yards. Asiata also caught five balls for 48 yards and a touchdown, but the linebackers did a good job of tackling after the catch. Cassel's 39.1 passer rating told an accurate story of this performance.  EDGE: PATRIOTS



The Patriots completed the clean sweep of the matchups with a solid day in the kicking game. Stephen Gostkowski nailed all three field goals including bombs from 47 and 48 yards. He also recorded four touchbacks, which effectively kept the dangerous Patterson from impacting the game. Ryan Allen placed four of his five punts inside the 20 and Matthew Slater turned in a terrific play to down one of those at the Vikings 4. Edelman was dynamic in the punt return game, averaging 16.5 yards on his four returns including run backs of 34 and 28 yards. And the biggest play of the game was made by the Patriots special teams as well. Facing the prospect of going to the locker room with a scant 17-10 lead, Chandler Jones instead blocked Blair Walsh's field goal and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown that made it 24-7 and turned the second half into extended garbage time. Nice bounce back for Scott O'Brien's troops.  EDGE: PATRIOTS

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