It was an interesting game to say the least, and here’s a quick look at what went right, and what didn’t work out quite so well for the Patriots during their 28-18 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Brandon Tate – Made a great play behind Vikings defensive back Madieu Williams, who almost picked off Tom Brady – but the ball went through his arms into Tate’s hands. Despite juggling the ball he managed to concentrate and ultimately make a 32-yard catch, which lead to a touchdown run by Danny Woodhead. Later Tate also came back on a play where Brady was under pressure, and as Brady spun away from the Vikings defense he fired the ball downfield to Tate who scored a 65-yard touchdown.
Rob Ninkovich – Shedded a block early in the game and forced Brett Favre into an intentional grounding call that set up 2nd and 25. He also later made a great open field tackle against Shiancoe on third down play after the Patriots went up 21-10 and prevented Minnesota from answering.
Ron Brace – Did a tremendous job holding up his guy and giving Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, and Jermaine Cunningham a chance to stop Peterson short at the goal line before the half.
Tom Brady – Brady did a great job avoiding the rush, and as we mentioned he made a terrific throw to a wide open Tate for a touchdown to put them up 14-10.
Devin McCourty – The rookie had a terrific outing Sunday. He did a great job against Percy Harvin following New England’s touchdown when Favre went deep and nearly intercepted the pass. On the play he appeared to get the wind knocked out of him, and missed his first snap of the season after he came off the field following the play. Came right back in after missing just one play.
He did make a great interception later on after Favre hit Harvin as he was falling down, but the ball came off his body into McCourty’s hands. McCourty returned it down to the 37-yard line – which helped set up a touchdown run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The interception was the second of McCourty’s career, and the second in as many weeks.
Aaron Hernandez – Made a 27-yard reception in stride, and finished with two catches that averaged 16.5 per play.
Myron Pryor – Pryor made the big hit that knocked Brett Favre out of the game, with his helmet sliding up and hitting Favre in the jaw – causing him to be carted off. The bad news may be whether or not Pryor is fined for hit. Initial contact was with his shoulder, but the helmet slid up to Favre’s chin.
Mike Wright – Made his fourth sack in as many games Sunday, making him the first Patriot to do that since Richard Seymour (2008).
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Despite a first half where he only finished with four carries for four yards, he finished the game rushing for 112 yards on 17 carries (6.6 avg) and two touchdowns. He was also instrumental on New England’s final scoring drive, chewing up yards and helping them put the game away.
Jerod Mayo – Once again had another solid performance, making plays all over the field and finishing with 14 total tackles along with a quarterback hit.
Jermaine Cunningham – Continues to play well, and had a tackle for a loss along with a quarterback hit.
Gary Guyton – Made a late hit where he was called for roughing the passer penalty on a 2nd and 11, hitting Favre helmet to helmet on an incompletion. Instead of 3rd and 11, the Vikings got the 1st down and the penalty yardage – which lead to a touchdown for Minnesota.
Rob Gronkowksi – Made a rare drop to start the fourth quarter.
Dane Fletcher – Made a terrible decision by running in on a punt that was about to be downed inside the 10-yard line and then batting it out of the endzone giving the Vikings the ball at the 20. Thankfully he did manage to put pressure on Favre on the ensuing possession.
Brandon Meriweather – He got beat by Moss and then called for pass interference to give the Vikings 1st and goal at the 9-yard line. It ended up setting up a touchdown for the Vikings;.
Jonathan Wilhite – Wilhite got called for illegal contact on 3rd and 3 on an incompletion on the play Favre got injured on. Instead of a field goal, the Vikings got a touchdown.
Jerod Mayo and Mike Wright deny a 3rd & 1 run by Adrian Peterson on the opening drive. Prior to that Peterson was 7-for-7 from that distance before that play….Kyle Arrington matched up on Randy Moss, with Brandon Meriweather helping out over the top. Moss was held to one catch for 8-yards, with Arrington telling reporters he was as physical as he’s ever been with any receiver against Moss….Vikings receiver Percy Harvin was injured when James Sanders tackled him – looking at the replay it looked like he had his foot stretched out, and then landed awkwardly and needed to be helped off the field. Was seen on the sideline getting his ankle taped after the play….Injured safety Jarrad Page was watching from home, Tweeting words of encouragement for his teammates during the game…..Keeping with the New England themed seascape with the lighthouse at Gillette Stadium, they added a “new fog horn sound” effect…Rob Gronkowski on Tweeted Saturday that Danny Woodhead was going to give him a haircut, and wondered if Woodhead would be tall enough to cut his hair….Owner Robert Kraft exchanged some pleasantries with Moss prior to the game [CLICK TO VIEW PHOTO]…Moss’ first catch (8 yards) came right around the 12:00 minute mark of the 3rd quarter…..Tate’s 65-yard touchdown, pass from Brady, the Pats’ longest play from scrimmage of the season and longest reception of Tate’s career – and also the longest since Sam Aiken scored an 81-yard TD reception at Miami back on 12/6/09….BenJarvus Green-Ellis’13-yd TD run was his 5th consecutive game with a rushing touchdown. Green-Ellis’ performance also gave New England their first 100-yard game for a Patriots runningback this season.