Tom Brady and his swollen right throwing hand: Brady's accuracy, which has long been a hallmark of his play, remains sporadic. It could be because he has discomfort in his right throwing hand. CBS cameras showed multiple close-up shots of the hand, which looked swollen, during the game. While Brady said afterward that the hand is "perfect," the quarterback seldom, if ever, acknowledges injuries.
Managing injuries with bye in mind: The Patriots host the Steelers on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET) and then have their "off" weekend. While getting a victory to improve to 7-2 is the obvious goal, there is also an aspect of managing injuries with the bye week in mind. For example, if it means that cornerback Aqib Talib gets an extra week to rest his injured left hip, perhaps the Patriots take a conservative approach with him this week. Likewise for others such as defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (right knee) and running back Leon Washington (ankle).
Cannon in for Vollmer at right tackle: Starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer left Sunday's game in the second quarter with what appeared to be a serious right leg injury. It would be a surprise if Vollmer plays again this season, which thrusts third-year man Marcus Cannon into the starting lineup and bumps eight-year veteran Will Svitek into the swing tackle role. "I thought Marcus went in there and did a good job," coach Bill Belichick said Sunday. "The line we blocked, that’s a good front. We ran the ball competitively."
Trade deadline: With the trade deadline Tuesday, it serves as a reminder that the Patriots have been busy on the in-season trade market in recent years, acquiring receiver Deion Branch from Seattle in 2010 and Talib in 2012. Belichick explained Friday why a trade is probably unlikely, but it shouldn't be ruled out completely. The feeling here is that defensive tackle would be the spot the team is most likely to target. The problem, of course, is that there isn't much supply to meet the demand.