Ups and downs for the Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At an initial glance, a look at New England Patriots players whose performance was "up" against the Saints, and those at the opposite end of the spectrum:


Tom Brady to Kenbrell Thompkins: Sometimes games come down to a single play and the Patriots made it when it counted -- a 17-yard Brady-to-Thompkins touchdown with five seconds remaining.

Stephen Gostkowski: Kicker converted three field goals, including a 54-yarder, which is a career high. He set the franchise record for most 50-plus-yard field goals, with nine.

Stevan Ridley: Running back returned after missing last Sunday's loss with a knee injury and ran hard (two touchdowns).

Aqib Talib: Cornerback was impressive matching up against tight end Jimmy Graham before he left the game in the third quarter with a hip injury and didn't return.


Brandon Bolden: Running back dropped a pass on the Patriots' drive after the Saints' scored a go-ahead touchdown.

Marcus Cannon: Stepping in at right guard for the injured Dan Connolly, he appeared to miss an assignment on a blitz as Tom Brady was sacked.

Steve Gregory: Safety looked like he lost his depth on a third-and-20 play in which Drew Brees found rookie receiver Kenny Stills for a 34-yard touchdown with 3:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Offensive play calling in red zone: Three straight running plays inside the red zone, with the Patriots holding a 20-17 lead, left many shaking their head.