A look at some of the personnel highs and lows from New England's disappointing, down-to-the-wire 31-24 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football at Gillette Stadium.
Trey Flowers –With a lot of rotating and interesting personnel decisions at defensive end, the second-year edge man started and was maybe the best of the group. He had a tackle for no-gain in the red zone on Seattle's first drive and a sack on the Seahawks second possession. Flowers added an 8-yard sack of Russell Wilson in the red zone in the third quarter. Flowers finished with three tackles, two sacks and two tackles for a loss.
LeGarrette Blount –* *There is no other way to put it than to say New England's big back is having a career year. Having already notched a career-high nine rushing scores previously, Blount found the end zone three times in the win over Seattle. The Patriots have not abandoned balance since Brady's return, and while Blount didn't run wild he did have 21 carries for 69 yards (3.3 avg.) to go along with the three scores. It was Blount's fifth games this season with at least 20 attempts.
Martellus Bennett –* *After two weeks to rest his ailing ankle, Bennett was back in a big way catching passes against his brother's team. New England used its two tight ends together a bit, but more often ran them on and off separately. Bennett also stepped up with a couple big catches when Rob Gronkowski was sidelined after a big hit. Bennett finished with seven catches on seven targets for 102 yards. It was his fifth 100-yard game of his career, his third this season.
Justin Coleman –The second-year cornerback saw plenty of action as the No. 3 cornerback, beginning with the second play of the day on defense. It didn't go well. He was chasing from the line, allowing a 36-yard completion on his first snap to Tyler Lockett. Later Coleman earned a 26-yard pass interference while trying to catch up. The problems also spilled into special teams, with Coleman earning clipping call wiped out 21-yard Cyrus Jones return.
Logan Ryan –The fourth-year veteran cornerback got his starting job back but he didn't respond with a very impressive performance. Ryan struggled mightily all night. Doug Baldwin had his way with the group notching six catches for 59 yards, including three scores. The Seattle No. 1 receiver also beat Malcolm Butler and Patrick Chung for scores. It was a total team breakdown in the back end in coverage to allow Wilson to throw for 348 yards, but Ryan may have been the worst of the disappointing group, including a bad missed tackle, usually a strength of his.
Eric Rowe –* *After starting two straight games leading up to the bye, the second-year second-round pick acquired from the Eagles was a healthy scratch against Seattle. This, on a night when the guys he's been competing with, Ryan and Coleman, struggled mightily. Not great for him to be inactive, but after Sunday night's performance he should be back in the competitive mix.
Tom Brady –* *After marching the Patriots right down the field for an opening score, Brady and the offense struggled most of the first half with two three-and-outs followed by a turnover. That came when Brady threw his first interception of the season on a bad decision/bad throw deep attempt toward Malcolm Mitchell. With the game on the line, Brady also seemed to pull out a little early on a QB sneak on the goal line on the second to last offensive snap, taking the blame for putting the ball on the ground. Brady has been almost perfect to date this season, but he wasn't at that level against Seattle. He finished completed 23 of 32 passes for 316 yards with no touchdowns and one interception for a 90.1 rating. Not only was it his first interception but also his first game without a touchdown pass this season.
Shaq Mason – Though the pressure wasn't horrific, Mason was bull-rushed and thrown around on a Jarran Reed sack in the third quarter. The second-year guard was man-handled a bit too easily on the play, even though overall it was a step forward for the line on a night against a talented Seahawks pressure front. The line was better as a group, allowing just two sacks and four QB hits, but on at least one play Mason was overmatched.
Jabaal Sheard –* *The veteran defensive end didn't see the field until the final play of the first quarter. He then saw limited rotational action the rest of the way, well behind the snaps for Flowers, Rob Ninkovich and Chris Long. Sheard was expected to step into the Chandler Jones role this season but his impact has not grown. And on this night it was reduced dramatically.
Cyrus Jones –* *The rookie finally got back on the game day roster. He was solid in the return game – touchbacks on kickoffs and a nice punt return called back to penalty. Then he broke free for huge return with the Patriots down a point in the fourth quarter, but he fumbled the ball as he hit the Patriots 45-yard line. Though Nate Ebner recovered for New England it was another down play for the young returner who has gone through plenty of growing pains as a rookie.
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