Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Five more thoughts from Pats/Bengals

Posted by Bill Koch on September 12, 2010

Since this is opening week of the NFL season and may as well be a national holiday, we here at Ramble On will toss in five additional thoughts from today’s battle between the New England Patriots and the Cincinnati Bengals. These come free of charge and are solely for your entertainment in the aftermath of the Patriots’ 38-24 victory at Gillette Stadium.

— How great was it to see Wes Welker back in the end zone? The little guy with one of the biggest hearts in the league scored twice and looked his usual sharp self operating in the slot and over the middle in the center of the Cincinnati defense. Keep in mind that he’s just eight months removed from major knee surgery and you’ll realize that it’ll only get better from here for No. 83.

— No, you weren’t imagining things. We also thought that Patrick Chung was in on just about every tackle made by the Patriots’ defense. The second-year safety from Oregon finished as New England’s leader with 12 stops on the day, a terrific performance for a guy who had just 37 tackles all last season. We like to see players who are fast and physical on that side of the ball and Chung was all of that and more on Sunday.

— When was the last time New England scored a defensive touchdown? We couldn’t think of it either until Gary Guyton returned an interception 59 yards for a score in the second quarter. Guyton’s big play made it 24-0 and was the highlight for a defense that didn’t look so good throughout training camp. We’d like to see the Patriots’ defenders be a little more active than they were last season – this was a decent start.

— Get used to hearing Devin McCourty’s name this season. Opposing teams are going to try to pick on the rookie defensive back from Rutgers all year long. The Bengals tried it on their first play from scrimmage, throwing a deep ball intended for Terrell Owens that McCourty broke up at the last minute. How he plays will go a long way toward determining just how effective the Patriots will be trying to stop opposing passing attacks.

— Good riddance, Laurence Maroney. Anybody else even notice that he was deactivated on Sunday due to a thigh injury? (And if you believe that nonsense we’ve got a bridge we’d like to sell you.) Fred Taylor (14 carries, 71 yards), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (22 yards) and Kevin Faulk (70 total yards) filled in quite nicely for Maroney, who has been nothing but a bust since being drafted in the first round out of Minnesota. We won’t be too heartbroken if we never see him or his fumble-prone hands ever again.

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