BOSTON (CBS) – Now that was much better.

The Patriots picked up their first win of the season Sunday afternoon in Minnesota, trouncing the Vikings 30-7. After giving up a touchdown on the first drive of the game, the defense locked in and picked off Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel four times, keeping Minnesota out of the end zone the rest of the way.

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Even head coach Bill Belichick was in a chipper mood following the victory.

“Every win feels good, but that felt real good. I’m very proud of the way our team played today,” Belichick said to start off his postgame press conference.

It’s nice to see the Patriots win a game thanks to the defense, and it was a big bounce back “W” following their disappointing Week 1 loss in Miami. Here are the Ups and Downs from Sunday’s win over the Vikings:


Defense Picks Off Cassel Four Times

Following a Matt Asiata touchdown on their first drive, it looked like the Vikings were in the driver’s seat early on. But Devin McCourty changed all the momentum with a deep pick of Cassel in the first quarter, returning it 60 yards to the Minnesota 1-yard line. Stevan Ridley then punched it in from a yard out, tying things at a touchdown apiece, and the Patriots never looked back.

McCourty’s pick was just the start for a big day on defense. Darrelle Revis (covering veteran wide out Greg Jennings) picked off his first pass as a member of the Patriots in the second quarter, which resulted in a 7-play, 61-yard touchdown drive by the New England to put them on top 17-7.

The defense continued to catch passes from Cassel in the second half. Logan Ryan, who led the Patriots with five picks as a rookie last season, stepped in front of a pass intended for Cordarrelle Patterson in the third quarter for his first interception of the season, leading to a Stephen Gostkowski field goal and a 27-7 Patriots lead. Ryan had a very good game overall after getting the late start in place of the injured Alfonzo Dennard, keeping Patterson in check for much of the afternoon.

Rookie Dominque Easley even got in on the fun, coming down with a fourth-quarter interception.

While the 30 points make it look like the offense had a solid afternoon, it was the Patriots defense that led to the majority of their points.

Chandler Jones’ Big Day

Jones had a huge day on the defensive line and special teams. The monster defensive end tallied eight tackles and two sacks (the Patriots sacked Cassel six times in the win), but his biggest play came on special teams.

With the Vikings lining up for a field goal that could have cut the Patriots’ lead to 17-10 right before the half, Jones got a great jump at the line and blocked the attempt off Blair Walsh’s foot. Jones then picked up the ball and raced 58-yards to the end zone to put the Patriots up 24-7. It was a huge 10-point swing that all but ended the afternoon for the Vikings.

Edelman Everywhere

Edelman isn’t slowing down following his career-year last season. He was Brady’s favorite target, making six receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown. He was responsible for 59 of the 61 yards on the Patriots’ touchdown drive in the second quarter, capping it off with a nice nine-yard touchdown from Brady.

He made a pair of huge third-down receptions on that drive, hauling in a nice pass from Brady along the sideline and running for 44-yards on 3rd-and-14, then following that up by picking up six yards on 3rd-and-4 with a great finger-tip grab a few plays later.

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Edelman also returned four punts, averaging 16.5 yards per return.

Ridley Runs Well

Ridley was a horse out of the backfield on Sunday, rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. He ran with authority, and held on to the football despite some big hits from the Vikings.

It’s a great sign for Ridley, who played just 22 snaps in Week 1 against Miami.



It was extremely frustrating to watch the Patriots get flagged for 15 penalties, costing them 163 yards. Left tackle Nate Solder had one stretch where he was flagged twice on the same play (an illegal block and an offensive holding), and followed that up with a false start on the very next play.

The Patriots have now been charged with 24 penalties over the first two games of the season.

Offensive Struggles

Tom Brady was happy with the win, but made a point to say the offense has plenty of room for improvement.

And he’s not wrong, as the the Patriots were just 5-for-14 on third down, leaving points out on the field as they settled for three field goals.

Hopefully Brady’s quality of life is a little bit better this week given the victory.

The Other Receivers

While Edelman did what Edelman does best, the other New England receivers were nearly invisible.

Aaron Dobson had one catch for 13 yards on two targets and Danny Amendola was targeted just once. With Rob Gronkowski still easing his way back in from offseason surgery (Gronk chimed in with four receptions for 32 yards), the wide-outs not named Edelman need to step up for the offense to perform better.

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