S Patrick Chung: He was already off to a nice start in Week 2. But this was ridiculous. Chung blocked two punts, had a pick-six on Chad Henne late, and registered five tackles. He did get beat good on Davone Bess’ 19-yard touchdown in the first quarter. All things considered, on this night, that could be excused.
ILB Jerod Mayo: He won’t get the ink that Chung or Ninkovich did, but he was immense in the middle of the defense. He actually chased Bess down a couple of times in the open field, and registered a pretty, diving pass breakup. Mayo finished with a team-leading 16 tackles and has, the last couple weeks, become much more of a playmaker. Which is what the defense really needed.
OLB Rob Ninkovich: Another no-doubter. No need to get cute here — he matched his previous career total for sacks (1) tonight, and had two picks after failing to get one prior in his pro career. The timing of the interceptions was impeccable, too. In both cases, the Dolphins were moving the ball and closing in on gaining separation. In both cases, that didn’t work.
OT Matt Light: Not the big left tackle’s best evening. He was flagged for holding on Cameron Wake in the second quarter, which negated a 36-yard gain by Aaron Hernandez, and easily could’ve been called for another. Both situations came with the POTPatriots down 7-0, and a lot on the line.
OT Sebastian Vollmer: Struggled mightily with Wake, who turnstiled him on one play, and took advantage of a communication error involving Vollmer that gave him a few run at Tom Brady and an easy sack. For one reason or another, Vollmer’s had a tough go all year, trying to play up to the lofty standards he set last yer.
CB Jonathan Wilhite: Was a big part of another lackluster effort to stop Bess, and had his issues tackling as well. Most certainly could’ve been better covering out of the slot tonight.