Ups and downs

Dominating effort by the Patriots tonight. The run defense was solid, with the Packers gaining just 86 yards on 29 carries (2.96 avg.).

Five players who helped themselves tonight:

* James Sanders — rookie safety picks off a second-half pass, and more importantly was on the opening-game kickoff return team. It’s a sign he’s very much in the team’s plans this year, perhaps leaping over second-year safety Guss Scott.

* Benjamin Watson — tight end showed the versatility that makes him a tough matchup, as a blocker and pass catcher.

* Asante Samuel — another game, another interception, he’s a sure-fire opening day starter at cornerback.

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* Ellis Hobbs — rookie showed flash again as a kickoff returner, opening the game with a 43-yard return and setting the tone.

* Chad Scott — with Duane Starks sidelined, veteran cornerback played a lot in the first half and held up well.

Three players whose performance didn’t stand out:

* Cedric Cobbs — running back fumbles in the rain in the fourth quarter.

* David Terrell — receiver was wide open along the sideline when he dropped a pass from quarterback Doug Flutie.

* Don Davis — linebacker was called for defensive holding, which negated an interception.

We’ll wrap things up in a bit.

–Mike

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