MIAMI -- At an initial glance, a look at three players whose performance was “up” in Sunday’s 23-16 win over the Dolphins, and three at the opposite end of the spectrum (with some creative math to account for extra thoughts):
Kyle Arrington -- Having been replaced as the starting right cornerback, Arrington seems to be thriving with the ability to focus more on slot duties. Dolphins receiver Davone Bess, who has hurt the Patriots in the past, is quiet in the game.
Defensive coaching staff -- Well-timed blitzes pay off as the defense has one of its best days of the season.
Trevor Scott -- Defensive end is latest to bring the Patriots’ “next-man-up” mantra to life, strip-sacking quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the second quarter to set the offense up with solid field position that ultimately produces a field goal. Adds another sack in second half.
Wes Welker -- Receiver has 10 of his 12 receptions in the first half to help the Patriots open an early advantage, as he continues to prove he’s one of the toughest matchups in the NFL.
Tom Brady -- Uncharacteristically off his game, he fires his first interception since Oct. 14 and lives on the edge as the one-dimensional attack relied heavily on him because of a lack of a consistent running game until the final drive of the fourth quarter.
Brandon Lloyd -- Quiet day for receiver, who finishes with one catch in 61 snaps played. Part of that is tied to the Patriots attacking the inside part of the field.
Running game/offensive line -- Patriots can’t get it going until they truly need it in the fourth quarter, as the Dolphins win the battle at line of scrimmage, which mostly shows up in the running game.
Sebastian Vollmer -- Right tackle is called for a holding penalty in the first quarter and then is beaten by Cameron Wake in the third quarter for a crunching sack of Brady. Wake is one of the NFL’s best, and it’s also noted that Vollmer is playing through back and knee injuries, but this wasn’t one of his top performances.