EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 26, 2009

Two-minute drill

Big Shows

1. Brandon Meriweather - Not just for the pick-six. Your average MVC safety sees that one coming and dances into the end zone. Simply for his presence on defense. He's setting the tone on the back line, much like Vince Wilfork is doing in the trenches.

2. Sam Aiken - Anything you squeeze out offensively from this career special-teamer is a bonus. Caught two balls for 66 yards, including a 54-yard TD.

3. Tully Banta-Cain - Look, teams are choosing not to block him, and Banta-Cain is providing the edge presence that Derrick Burgess and Adalius Thomas haven't. Love his motor, an overachiever. Tied for team-leading five solo tackles.

No Shows

1. Logan Mankins - Must have been the jet lag. He looked a step behind and rang up the penalties. Three false starts and a hold.

2. Sebastian Vollmer - He struggled when the rookie was left alone with no help. Allowed a sack with a pair of holding calls.

3. Jerod Mayo - Made the first big hit of the day, assaulting Cadillac Williams at the line for no gain, then he disappeared. Still can't cover anyone. After last year, you just expect more than five solo tackles.

Grading the groups

OFFENSE

Line (C-) - No real running room on running downs against a six or seven-man front. Then, you throw in eight penalties for 45 yards. The fact that the Pats could decimate Tampa in spite of these guys shows just how enormous the chasm between good and putrid is in the NFL.

Quarterback (B-) - Two truly awful interceptions spoil what could have been a perfect day against the game's least effective passing defense outside of Nashville.

Receivers (B+) - Somebody might have to try to make Randy Moss care. His thoughts were obviously on a potential meeting with Scary Spice in downtown London.

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