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Ups and downs

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  September 20, 2009 10:16 PM

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick said it best in the wake of his team's 16-9 loss to the New York Jets.

"Well, it was a tough loss like it always is in the division. Give the Jets credit. They did a better job than we did today and I don't really think there is a whole lot more to say about it," said Belichick.

"They outplayed us and outcoached us. They performed better than we did over the 60 minutes. I think that was pretty much the story of the game."

The reality is that the Jets deserve more credit for outplaying the Patriots than the Patriots deserve blame for being beaten.

With that disclaimer and our usual caveat that it's always dangerous to make snap-judgments on a game without seeing it a second time here are the players whose stock went up after today's game and the players whose stock dipped.

Ups
1. Julian Edelman -- The converted college quarterback was the Patriots' best offensive weapons against the stingy Jets defense, collecting eight catches for 98 yards in his NFL debut. Edelman helped ease the blow of the surprising deactivation of Wes Welker (knee), which left the Patriots with just four wide receivers -- Edelman, Moss, Galloway and Sam Aiken.

2. Fred Taylor -- Taylor looked spry for 33. He ran with vision, patience and purpose. The running game took a backseat once the Patriots trailed in the second half, but you wonder if Taylor, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry, shouldn't have gotten more than eight carries for 46 yards.

3. Gary Guyton -- Guyton filled in well for the injured Jerod Mayo, leading the Patriots defensive huddle. Guyton showed the ability to shed tackles and use his blazing speed to chase down ballcarriers. He led the Patriots with 10 tackles and helped hold New York to 3.8 yards per carry. Almost as important as the plays Guyton made were the ones he didn't. Guyton didn't make any significant mistakes that led to big plays.

4. Pass protection -- The Jets were able to get to Brady and hit him seven times, but it is somewhat remarkable that he wasn't sacked. The offensive line deserves credit for giving Brady an opportunity to be effective against a defense that was constantly moving around and varying and disguising its looks. The Jets brought pressure, but the Patriots handled it well for the most part. The Jets did an excellent job in coverage and Brady and his receivers weren't always on the same page.

Down

1. Sam Aiken -- You can't blame this game on any one player, especially not Aiken. However, as a captain his play was representative of the overall issue the Patriots had with penalties with 11 for 89. Aiken, the special teams captain, had a holding penalty on a kickoff return and then picked up a 15-yard face-mask on punt coverage in the third quarter.

2. Laurence Maroney -- He had only six carries for 23 yards and was upstaged by Taylor. The Patriots needed more from the ground game to slow down the Jets' blitz and it just wasn't there when Maroney was in the game. He carried just one time in the second half. Maroney also had a questionable decision on a blitz pick up in the first quarter, taking the outside blitzer instead of the inside guy and allowing Brady to get hit.

3. Joey Galloway -- Brady and director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who still works with the wide receivers, have gone out of their way to say Galloway will be a contributor. But on a day when Wes Welker was out, the Patriots needed more from the veteran. He was targeted on 12 passes and came down with five for 53 yards. He would have had a touchdown, if not for a great play by Lito Sheppard in the end zone. Galloway still doesn't look totally comfortable in the team's offense. On résumé alone he deserves the benefit of the doubt for now.

4. Patrick Chung -- This is tough because Chung was only on the field for special teams, but that's the point. The Patriots were clearly more comfortable using Brandon McGowan as a box safety/psuedo linebacker and as a regular safety in their defense than Chung. It was also notable that when Brandon Meriweather left the game in the first half with an ankle injury, Chung still wasn't used at all on defense. McGowan's role was the position that Rodney Harrison would usually have when Belichick wanted to use a safety as a linebacker. As the draft pick the Patriots got for trading Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel, Chung has to work his way on to the field.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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