Some new looks for Patriots in 34-13 win over Titans

Some new looks for Patriots in 34-13 win over Titans
September 9, 2012, 8:09 pm
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Attention, National Football League: The New England Patriots' multifaceted offense -- which scored more than 100 points than any other team in the AFC in 2011 -- rolled out a new weapon Sunday.
That would be Stevan Ridley, who came close to the franchise rushing record in a season-opening game with 125 yards in 21 carries . . . only 12 yards short of the 137 gained by Tony Collins against the Baltimore Colts in the 1982 opener.
They also rolled out some new weapons on defense, too.
Like rookie Chandler Jones, who had a sack and a forced fumble for a touchdown. And fellow first-round draft choice Dont'a Hightower, who recovered that forced fumble for the touchdown. They -- along with veteran stalwarts Vince Wilford and Jerod Mayo -- spearheaded a defensive effort that held Titans star Chris Johnson to a rather mind-boggling 4 yards in 11 carries.

So if the Pats are smiling a little wider today after an unsurprising 34-13 road victory over the Tennessee Titans -- a fair-to-middlin' foe, but not in the same class as the defending American Football Conference champions -- you'll understand why.

"It was a good team win," said coach Bill Belichick. "All three units (offense, defense, special teams) contributed . . . I think if we can play that way all season, we'll be all right."

The name that stands out, however, is Ridley. He eased the fears of those worried by the departure of the steady if unspectacular BenJarvus Green-Ellis with a steady and spectacular afternoon. It started with a 17-yard gain on his second touch of the afternoon, and included a 15-yard run on the first play of a second-quarter drive that resulted in a touchdown, and 29 yards on a pair of carries during a third-quarter march that he capped with a one-yard tumble into the end zone, giving the Pats a 28-10 lead and pretty much deciding the game.

"He ran the ball extremely well," said Tom Brady, who was his usual 23-of-31, 236-yard, 2-touchdown self.

"Stevan ran hard," said Belichick, "broke some tackles."

More to come . . .