Welker stands out among crowd

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Had the final result been different, the remarkable effort of receiver Wes Welker would have drawn more attention today.

Welker was the Patriots' best player in Sunday's 24-23 loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, finishing with 10 catches for 138 yards and 1 touchdown (for 46 yards). It was a reminder that he is still playing at a high level, and worth every bit of his $9.5 million franchise tender.

His toughness and clutch play is something the Patriots could use more of across the board.

The sequence that captured Welker's toughness came midway through the second quarter when he absorbed a clean, pad-rattling hit from 6-foot-4, 221-pound cornerback Brandon Browner on a 7-yard completion that ended with a thunderous collision. The hit electrified the home crowd, and sent Welker slowly back to the sideline.

It was fair to assume, at that point, that Welker was done for the day.

Instead, he returned after missing three plays and immediately converted a third-and-10 with an 11-yard grab over the middle. He ended up playing 77 of 87 snaps (including penalties).

Welker's effort brought back memories of the Dec. 13, 2009 game against Carolina at home, when he took a few big hits but got right back up, Rocky style, and ignited the home crowd.

"It's just playing football, going out there and trying to make plays," Welker said Sunday in Seattle.

No Patriot is making more of them than Welker.