Tom Brady's accuracy isn't up to his usual standard, but he becomes the first signal-caller to throw for more than 300 yards against the Redskins this year. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is terrific and while Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez had drops, they were otherwise clutch. Also, the offensive line holds up against the Redskins' pressure (1 sack).
The biggest disappointment comes when the Patriots can't pick up a yard on third-and-1 early in the fourth quarter despite bringing their power package on the field. The Patriots lean more on smaller backs Danny Woodhead (8 carries, 41 yards) and Kevin Faulk (3 carries, 11 yards) as they skew heavily toward the pass (37 pass attempts, 20 rushes) while losing the time-of-possession battle 36:09-23:51.
Cornerback Devin McCourty has some early struggles and the secondary is exposed on a razzle-dazzle 49-yard touchdown pass from receiver Brandon Banks to Santana Moss. There are some highlights -- such as Andre Carter's strip sack that led to Vince Wilfork's recovery for a touchdown, and linebacker Jerod Mayo's game-saving interception -- but the unit isn't consistent and is on its heels for much of the day.
Usually a strength, the Patriots are gashed for a season-high 170 yards even as the Redskins play without their two top offensive tackles. This allows Roy Helu to become the first Redskins rookie to rush for 100 or more yards in three straight games. The Patriots experimented with some different looks, but there is little resistance vs. the run.
Gunner Matthew Slater delivers one of the plays of the day, getting down the field to keep a Zoltan Mesko punt from going into the end zone and batting it back for Sergio Brown to down at the 4. That leads to a strip sack for a touchdown. Overall, the dangerous Redskins' return game isn't a factor as the coverage is solid. The Redskins' average drive start is their 21.
There are no major calls for Bill Belichick to challenge, while offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien's fiery sideline exchange creates some postgame headlines. Overall, the Patriots try different combinations on defense, but nothing seems to provide the answer, making one wonder if it's more personnel than scheme.