Pats torch Titans in Week 1 victory: 3 things we learned
Three things we learned in the Patriots 34-13 road win over the Titans:
1. Rookies impress
Bill Belichick had to love what he saw out of the rookies in their regular season debut. Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, and Tavon Wilson got significant time on defense for New England, and fellow rookie Nate Ebner saw some time at safety late in the game. Jones and Hightower were quite the one-two punch early in the second quarter. Jones strip-sacked Titans QB Jake Locker and Hightower scooped up the fumble and ran it in for a six-yard touchdown. Hightower and Jones each had five tackles on the day, while Tavon Wilson had four. Wilson also had the Pats lone interception in the end zone after a Kyle Arrington tip. The Pats’ rookie Class of 2012 is already looking like a strong one.
2. Runnin’ on Ridley
Patriots second-year running back Stevan Ridley has shown flashes of brilliance in his time with the team, but Week 1′s performance was the breakout game of his career. Ridley ran all over the Titans defense to the tune of 125 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He also had two receptions for 27 yards. His touchdown couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Titans had cut the Pats lead to 21-10 prior to it. Ridley carried the ball four times on his scoring drive, including runs of 15 yards and 14 yards before pounding it in at the 1.
3. Another season opener, another win
The Patriots have a lot to be happy about after their 34-13 win over the Titans. For one, it looks like they’ve got a more than capable defense this season – something everybody has been calling for since 2005. How good was the Patriots run defense on Sunday? Ask Chris Johnson. The speedy back was completely ineffective on the ground, accounting for a measly four yards on 11 carries. On the other side of the ball, Tom Brady was up to his old tricks, spreading out the ball to all of his weapons. It was good to see Brandon Lloyd leading Pats in receiving yards with 69 yards on five catches, despite not connecting with Brady on a big one in the first quarter. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez each had a touchdown – no surprises there.