It wasn't pretty at all for the Patriots on Thursday night. However, the Pats walked away with a win, which was ultimately the only thing that mattered. It's become clear that the 2013 season will be a work in progress for New England, and with that in mind, I bring you the Risers and Fallers, with more Risers than you'd expect.
Julian Edelman (WR) – It's two weeks in a row that Julian has made it onto the Risers list. If one thing is for certain, Edelman is making the most of his opportunity sans Welker. He has two of the Patriots' three touch down receptions this season, and he tore up the field with 13 receptions. What was even more impressive is that he was able to rack up those clutch catches when the Jets' defense knew that he was the only person they needed to cover. With no disrespect to Wes Welker, the past two weeks Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman have put on classic "Wes-like" performances that were as good as any of his best days with the Pats.
Aquib Talib (DB) – His two interceptions were the high points of the night for an all-around great effort by the defense.
Steve Gregory (S) – Gregory played a large role in stopping the Jets ground game, which was a key in putting Geno Smith in difficult 3rd down situations.
Chandler Jones (DE) – Jones produced two big sacks, putting him back on track to continue his rookie season pace before he was injured.
Special Teams – The Patriots punted the football eleven times on Thursday night. The longest return that they gave up was four yards. In a defensive game where field position was key, a single mis-step could have been the difference between a win and a loss. Special teams didn't miss a beat.
Tom Brady (QB) – In addition to losing his cool with his teammates, Brady had a less than perfect game himself, missing some open targets for what would have been large gains.
Aaron Dobson (WR) – Although his first NFL catch went for a touchdown, it was mostly downhill from there. There were far too many drops and mental errors. You gotta hope that those will improve as he gets more comfortable. It was his first NFL game, after all. To his credit, Dobson did have a big 3rd down grab late in the game, which was critical to keeping the ball away from the Jets offense.
Kenbrell Thompkins (WR) – He was about a centimeter away from ending up on the Risers list, if his diving touchdown grab hadn't been overturned. As such, it was just another incompletion thrown his way as the rookie continues to deal with the NFL's steep learning curve.
Stevan Ridley (RB) – The Pats would have greatly benefitted from a solid ground game given how shaky the the passing game was throughout the night. Ridley never stepped up and became a real threat.