Ups and downs for Patriots

ATLANTA -- At an initial glance, a look at New England Patriots players whose performance was "up" against the Atlanta Falcons, and those who were at the opposite end of the spectrum:


Offensive line/tight ends/fullback -- Opened up big holes up front for the power running game.

LeGarrette Blount/Stevan Ridley -- Running backs steamroll through undersized Falcons defense.

Kenbrell Thompkins/Julian Edelman -- Top two receivers came up big as things opened up in the second half.

Aqib Talib -- Cornerback is playing at a high level, as his fourth-quarter interception continues the Patriots' streak of games with at least one turnover to 31. Also comes up with the big fourth-down stop in the end zone to end the game.

Joe Vellano -- Rookie defensive tackle delivers a big third-quarter sack with a decisive victory over center Peter Konz.


Steve Gregory -- Missed tackle on tight end Tony Gonzalez makes a 21-yard touchdown at the end of the second quarter easier than it should have been.

Dont'a Hightower -- Seemed like it was a struggle in coverage for the linebacker.

Zach Sudfeld -- Rookie tight end can't hang on to an onside kick attempt in the fourth quarter.