Found September 09, 2012 on Boston's Bettah:

Titans quarterback Jake Locker was under pressure most of the day Sunday as he gets sacked and stripped by Chandler Jones

The Patriots impressed on both offense and defense Sunday in their dominating win over the Titans Sunday. The offense looked like the well-oiled machine it was last year, lead by Tom Brady, who completed 23 of 31 pass attempts for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns, throwing no interceptions.

The defense had an incredibly strong, and honestly surprising showing, only allowing 13 points and 284 yards of total offense, which included an amazing 20 yards allowed on the ground. The defense was lead by veterans Vince Wilfork and Jared Mayo.  Mayo had 12 tackles and was everywhere on the field, while Wilfork was his disruptive self, taking on two linemen for the majority of the afternoon and causing mayhem in the backfield. Mayo and Wilfork’s performances were not the headline of the afternoon for the defense, which received some great energy and playing from their rookies.

Rookies Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, and Tavon Wilson all had great NFL debuts, and all were able to contribute in the turnover game for the Patriots.

Early in the 2nd quarter, Wilson made a nice heads up play to intercept Jake Locker on an attempted 50 yard pass, which was also played beautifully by Kyle Arrington. Wilson also was tied for third on the team with 4 solo tackles. If Wilson can have an impact this season it would be a very nice plus for someone who was not high on many team’s draft boards. Wilson will continue to see a lot of time at safety, and hopefully can work off this solid performance.

The biggest play of the day as far as I am concerned was in the 2nd quarter when the Titans were backed up at their goaline, trying to to move down the field and retake the lead. Locker dropped back to pass on 3rd and 13, and was immediately sacked and stripped by rookie Chandler Jones. Hightower, after just having made a great play in the backfield on the play before, was able to scoop up the ball, evade a linemen, and force his way into the endzone, giving the Patriots a 14-3 lead and giving them all the momentum. The two first round picks showed great signs out on the field Sunday, and looked like veterans at times, especially during this huge play. These two rookies could create havoc all season, and seem to be adapting to the NFL fairly well.

Jones can bring the pass rush, and may be something the Patriots haven’t had in New England in a long, long time: a great pass rusher off the end. Jones, joined by Wilfork, Kyle Love, Brandon Deadrick, and vastly improved Jermaine Cunningham (who worked off his fantastic preseason with a sack), could give the Patriots the strength on the defensive line that they have been looking for for awhile.

Hightower wore Tedy Bruschi’s old number 54 jersey with pride today, having a huge impact on the field. Alongside run-stopper Brandon Spikes and all-pro linebacker Jared Mayo, Hightower could help turn this linebacking group into one of the best in the league. He is a huge body who runs well, plays the run extremely well, and also has been working hard in coverage and getting better at defending the pass. If Hightower and Jones can play like they did on Sunday, we could be looking at one of the best front sevens the Patriots have had in years.

The secondary, which we all know was dead last in the league in yards given up last season, played extremely well today. Not only did Tavon Wilson  play well, but our other safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory were able to keep almost every play in front of them and come up and make some huge hits, including a massive hit on Nate Washington (which I am still convinced was a catch and fumble). Cornerback Devin Mccourty, who has received a harsh amount of criticism after his brutal sophomore slump last season, also had a very solid game, as he was 2nd on the team with 5 tackles, and also made some great plays on the ball. If Mccourty can regain some of his rookie form, the secondary could have a much better year than last season, and could help the Patriots win some games, rather them losing them as they did throughout the season last year.

After years of mediocrity from the Patriots defense, Belicheck finally has the perfect mix of veterans and young players. He has worked hard in finding defensive talent in the draft the past few years, and it seems to finally be paying off. My friend Josh said today before the game “Patriots gonna have a top 5 defense this year.” We laughed him off, but after this stellar performance, almost anything is possible.

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