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Here are the positional ratings against the Seahawks:
Quarterback (1 out of 5)
Brady had 10 standout plays against the tough Seahawks, which is good work, but they were evened out by 10 poorly thrown passes or decisions. Add in the two interceptions and two grounding penalties, and you have Brady’s poorest game in some time — barely edging the regular-season loss to the Giants last season when he was battling an elbow injury. On third and 10 with 4:51 left in the first half, Brady had a nice, subtle throw slightly behind Welker, which allowed him to split the defenders for the first down. If Brady led him, he might not have bounded off the tackle of linebacker K.J. Wright. Not a good throw by Brady to Woodhead right before the end of the first half. If Brady leads Woodhead even a little bit away from LB Bobby Wagner, Woodhead probably would have scored with ease. Instead, Brady threw low and to the inside. The interception by Richard Sherman in front of Branch was just a bad decision under no pressure. Welker was open crossing underneath. The interception that tipped off Welker’s hands could have been caught, but it was thrown too hard and Welker got drilled. To get no points there was bad football.
Running backs ( 4 out of 5)
Just a tremendous game from Woodhead, especially the run on third and 6 to start the second half when he carried 284-pound Greg Scruggs for 3 yards.
Receivers (3.5 out of 5)
Some really good play, especially by Welker and Brandon Lloyd, but some sloppiness in there as well from Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Gronkowski is really beat up and gutting it out for the team. The 46-yard touchdown to Welker was the same play as the Super Bowl. Perfect play call by McDaniels against quarters coverage. Welker faked a corner route but continued on a fade. Amazing how it worked when Brady led Welker instead of throwing back-shoulder. Is there any reason Lloyd always ends up on the ground? On a nice little slant late in the third quarter he lost his footing with no one around him.
Offensive line ( 4 out of 5)
Only 12 total quarterback pressures on 60 dropbacks (including penalties) is really good work, even if the Seahawks blitzed just five times (8.3 percent). In order of performance: Logan Mankins (playing on one leg again), Ryan Wendell (hurry, knockdown), Connolly (two hurries), Sebastian Vollmer (1.5 knockdowns, hurry, penalty), and Nate Solder (sack, two knockdowns, two hurries). The Patriots are going to have to address Wendell’s exaggerated head bob before the snap. Looks like the Seahawks timed it at least four times on big plays.
Defensive line ( 3.5 out of 5)
Mostly good stuff here, but everyone wants to dump on the secondary for giving up big plays. On the eight plays of 15 yards or more the Patriots gave up, Russell Wilson averaged four seconds on his release time. That’s an eternity. The Patriots blitzed on 27.3 percent of the 33 dropbacks. That’s a lot for them. They had five of their 12 total quarterback pressures (41.7 percent) on blitzes. Jermaine Cunningham messed up pocket containment on two of the longest gains: the 50-yard pass to Doug Baldwin, and the throw to Sidney Rice that resulted in a 40-yard pass interference penalty against Patrick Chung. Terrific games from Chandler Jones (1.5 sacks, two hurries, knockdown) and Vince Wilfork (two hurries, knockdown).
Linebackers (4 out of 5)
Big games from Brandon Spikes (two knockdowns, two tackles for loss) and Rob Ninkovich (half-sack, hurry, two half-run stuffs), but two big missed tackles from Spikes and Jerod Mayo (third down) for a combined 25 extra yards. Mayo had a big forced fumble, but he had a hard time in coverage.
Secondary (1 out of 5)
It’s a shame Wilson misplayed the final touchdown because he was much improved over the Broncos game. Dennard has his fair share of technique issues, but he takes coaching well. He’s going places.
Special teams ( 4 out of 5)
Great work, especially by Matthew Slater, until Zoltan Mesko’s final punt that had only 3.27 seconds of hang time and, along with zero containment from Sterling Moore, enabled Leon Washington’s 25-yard return that set up the Seahawks for the winning score. Huge miscue.