BOSTON (CBS) – Somehow, someway, the Patriots started the 2013 season off with a win.
It wasn’t easy in Buffalo on Sunday, but we’ll take a W in the standings. Here are your gold stars and penalty flags for Week 1:
– I owe Julian Edelman an apology. I thought that the Pats were going to cut him and should have moved on to another wide receiver. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, so Julian Edelman gets a gold star. Tom Brady needed a familiar face when the chips were down and Julian was that; two touchdowns to go with seven catches for 79 yards.
Edelman ran the routes the way they were supposed to be run and was as reliable as they come. The Pats will need more of that in the weeks to come without Rob Gronkowski.
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– Danny Amendola gets a gold star. Let’s be honest, Danny almost got a penalty flag when he came out with that injury in the first half. But Sunday was a gutty performance and something that many of the fans and those around the team needed to see. He was hurt, but he didn’t let it slow him down and helped move the chains when it was most important. He finished with 10 catches for 104 yards — and most of it was C-L-U-T-C-H clutch.
With all the Wes Welker comparisons, Amendola is trying to carve out his own nitche here with the Pats. Sunday was a great start.
– Kyle Arrington gets a gold star. Whenever there was a big play by the Pats defense, Arrington was right in the middle of it. He forced two fumbles and chipped in with four tackles. The Patriots defense did not play bad, and Arrington was the star on Sunday.
– Shane Vereen deserves a huge gold star. When Stevan Ridley was sat down all Vereen did was step in and handle the Pats running game. Vereen’s 14 carries for 101 yards led all running backs in rushing yards in Week 1, and also chipped in with 7 catches for 58 yards. He’s turned into a total back and the Pats needed him to be that against the Bills
– I’m not sure what’s going on with Stevan Ridley, but he gets a penalty flag. In his rookie season he had troubles with fumbling but he seemed to solve last season when he was given the #1 job. Well, he coughed up the rock during the pre-season and it started again against Buffalo. I’m not sure why Ridley keeps dropping his head, but he did it again Sunday and the shot he took had him fumble the rock (he was ruled down by contact though, so it didn’t show up in the stat sheet). Then he just tripped over himself at the line of scrimmage and lost the ball. Ridley may have had a concussion, we might never know, but he needs to play better. The Pats are counting on him to be big in the run game this season, but he can’t do it if he’s serving a time out on the bench.
– The Patriots offensive line gets a penalty flag. I may be nit-picking here but Tom Brady seemed to take a beating on Sunday. He was hurried and knocked down more than he, or any New England fan, cares to see. As the game went on, the Pats offensive line got better, but let’s be honest, Tom gets hurt and we can cancel Christmas. The quarterback needs to stay clean.
– The Pats pass-rush gets a penalty flag. There were only a handful of teams on Sunday that didn’t record a sack and the Pats were one of them. EJ Manuel had pressure at times but that Patriots have to be able to seal the deal. They needed to get to him down on a few occasions and they didn’t.
– The way the NFL has decided they are going to review every turnover and touchdown needs a penalty flag. These games last forever now because everything has to be reviewed. I understand when it’s the final two minutes, but all of a sudden it seems like there is a break on every play. Somehow this needs to be fixed.
Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid