Vollmer holds down the fort

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the games within Sunday's game between the Patriots and Titans was how rookie Sebastian Vollmer starting at left tackle in place of Matt Light would impact the contest.

In looking at the offensive snaps in the first half, when the Patriots built a 45-0 lead, it was clear New England didn't alter its approach to help Vollmer -- and he did just fine.

"He did a great job," said quarterback Tom Brady. "He's really worked hard and he's very well coached. He's a smart kid. He's tough. You see how big he is out there, he has a lot of physical tools. His intelligence gets him in the right position, the right calls. That's what the job of a backup tackle is -- to go in there and play, and he played great. That's a tough spot to be in, left tackle, especially with a guy like Light, who has been so dependable."

The Patriots had 14 first-half snaps in their four-receiver set in which Vollmer was in pass protection with no help on the edge. Vollmer, one of the team's second-round draft choices this year, held his ground as Brady's blind side was seldom, if ever, in jeopardy.

On only one of those 14 plays with four receivers on the field, a running back chipped in to help.

Including penalties, the Patriots lined up at scrimmage 46 times in the first half. On 21 of those plays, the offense lined a tight end to Vollmer's left, a sign that they didn't do anything out of the ordinary to help him.

Vollmer also delivered a key block to help spring Laurence Maroney free on his 45-yard touchdown run.