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Matchup Winners: Patriot O-line leads way in blowout win




The offensive line once again featured a change in the starting lineup, this time with Ryan Wendell taking over at right guard for injured rookie Cameron Fleming (finger), and the results were dominant. The Patriots ran the ball effectively and protected Tom Brady while piling up a season high in points (43) and yards (505). Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen provided a contrasting one-two punch with Ridley handling the traditional role and Vereen adding valuable yards out of spread formations. Ridley piled up 27 carries and picked up 113 yards, 43 of which came on the longest run of his career. He also added a touchdown. Vereen managed 90 yards on just nine attempts, often taking advantage of the Bengals sub packages in passing situations. His most effective run was a 19-yarder on third-and-16 that led to an eventual touchdown. As a team the Patriots finished with 220 yards on 46 carries, good for a healthy 4.8-yard average. Hats off to the guys up front.  EDGE: PATRIOTS



Cincinnati came into the game with the reputation of wanting to run the ball and when the Bengals actually tried they were generally successful. Giovani Bernard picked up 62 yards on only 13 carries (4.8-yard average) but the score dictated that the Bengals needed to do more through the air. As a team the Bengals ran only 18 times, picking up 79 yards (4.4-yard average). The Patriots were stout early, however, as Vince Wilfork and newcomer Casey Walker managed to create penetration periodically in the first half to disrupt some running plays, and Bernard was never really a factor in the game. Jeremy Hill, a talented rookie out of LSU, was never given a chance to make an impact and was limited to just 1 yard on a pair of carries. This is a game plan the Bengals would probably like to have back, but given what they were presented the Patriots defense was up to the challenge.  EDGE: PATRIOTS



Brady came under fire throughout the week and many of his teammates didn't like it. Rob Gronkowski in particular seemed peeved that his quarterback was taking heat and he responded with his best game of the year. He caught six balls for 100 yards including his fourth touchdown of the season. Fellow tight end Tim Wright made his biggest impression with five catches (on five targets) for 85 yards and another touchdown. The Bengals were missing two of their top four linebackers and it showed with the play of the tight ends. That accounted for the bulk of the production from Brady, who finished 23 of 35 for 292 yards and the two TDs, which gave him a solid 110.7 passer rating. Julian Edelman was once again held in check with five catches for only 35 yards and the other three wideouts managed a catch apiece. But Brady was sacked just once and had plenty of time to find the tight ends, which was all the passing attack needed on this night.  EDGE: PATRIOTS



Darrelle Revis came to play and it showed right from the opening series. He locked up with A.J. Green, one of the league's most talented receivers, and for the most part he shut him down. Revis appeared engaged from the start, particularly when Andy Dalton tested him on a pair of deep fades on the opening drive. Revis intercepted the first one but was called for illegal contact. Shortly thereafter he blanketed Green down the same sideline and forced Dalton to throw it away. When Green did manage to make a big play late in the first half, Revis stripped him following an 18-yard completion and the Patriots tacked on a field goal after the turnover. Green finished with five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown, but the score came while Logan Ryan was covering him as Revis was briefly sidelined with a minor hamstring injury. Dalton (15 of 24, 204 yards, 2 TDs, 117.4 passer rating) made some nice throws and was victimized by some drops, particularly by tight end Jermaine Gresham on a potential touchdown, but Revis' work prevented Cincinnati from establishing any rhythm throughout.  EDGE: PATRIOTS



Kickers are so good in today's game they are often overlooked, but as Stephen Gostkowski once again proved to be automatic with a 5-for-5 performance on field goals, the Bengals Mike Nugent failed to connect on an early 52-yarder that could have stemmed the tide following an impressive opening Bengals drive. Gostkowski nailed kicks from 47 and 48 yards among his makes, and many of his eight kickoffs that reached the end zone were unwisely returned by Brandon Tate. Tate was consistently nailed inside the 15 and fumbled one (courtesy of a textbook Brandon Bolden hit) that Kyle Arrington returned for a touchdown. The lone blemishes for the home team were a 47-yard punt return by Adam Jones that came off a low 46-yard Ryan Allen boot, and Jamie Collins also took a mindless 15-yard personal foul when he buried Tate after the returner had called for a fair catch. Other than that it was all Patriots.  EDGE: PATRIOTS

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