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Patriots Stock Report: Big Play Ninkovich Puts Up Hat Trick of Sacks in Win Over Bills

ninkovich sack
Rob Ninkovich recorded three sacks on Bills quarterback Kyle Orton in the Patriots' 37-22 win over the Bills on Sunday. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The New England Patriots have put together two convincing wins in as many weeks.

With a 37-22 triumph over the Buffalo Bills in Week 6, the Patriots have won their past two games by a combined score of 80-39 against two defenses that ranked in the top 10 entering their games against the Patriots.

This was a second straight coming-out party for the Patriots offense, with Tom Brady once again putting up a near-perfect performance en route to a big rout.

With the win, the Patriots move to 4-2 on the season and they take sole possession of first place in the AFC East for the first time all season.

Here's a look at some of the positives and negatives to come out of the win.

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Stock Up:

Rob Ninkovich: It was a busy day for Rob Ninkovich, who generated three sacks of Bills quarterback Kyle Orton, two on third down, and also had two tackles. Ninkovich always seems to come up in big spots, but in Week 1, the Patriots had reduced Ninkovich's role significantly. He has earned a full-time role in the defense through continued strong play, and should continue to be a big part of the Patriots defense.

Rob Gronkowski: Rob Gronkowski appears to be back to full-on "Gronk" of old. Not only did he haul in seven receptions for 94 yards, but he also showed that he is still a capable and effective blocker by buying Tom Brady more time on a 15-yard completion to Michael Hoomanawanui in the first quarter — although he whiffed on defensive end Mario Williams on a sack of Brady later in the game, but he was only supposed to chip the rusher on his way into the route. Gronkowski also had two receptions on the Patriots final drive, picking up a key conversion on 3rd-and-16 to help the Patriots milk the clock.

Brandon LaFell: After a tough start in which Brandon LaFell caught none of the six passes thrown his way in the first two games, the veteran receiver has gotten on the same page with Brady in a hurry. He caught four of the six passes thrown his way, for 92 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two catches to convert third downs. The Patriots have finally found a receiver who can come in and quickly learn the offense and get in sync with Brady.

Brian Tyms: What a big Patriots debut it was for Brian Tyms. The veteran receiver caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady, climbing the ladder and on a pass that was thrown into triple coverage. It was his first regular season touchdown catch ever. The Patriots have struggled to create explosive plays in the passing game this season, but Tyms could be someone to watch in that area.


Stock Down:

Nate Solder: The Patriots have not gotten very many strong performances from their starting left tackle this season, and he gave up at least three pressures on Tom Brady, including a sack. He was a victim to the offensive line rotation once again, with Marcus Cannon coming into the game to replace him at left tackle. Also had a late false start penalty.

Secondary: The Patriots secondary had its share of troubles across the board, with quarterback Kyle Orton hitting 24 of 38 passes (63.2 percent) for 299 yards, two touchdowns and a pick, with a passer rating of 94.1. Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard each gave up more than three receptions into their coverage. Darrelle Revis had a strong game, and gave up a reception on his only target of the day. Both Dennard (illegal use of hands) and Duron Harmon (face mask) were flagged for penalties.

Injuries: Yikes. Between Dan Connolly (concussion), Stevan Ridley (knee), Jerod Mayo (knee), Matthew Slater (shoulder) and some near-misses with Rob Gronkowski (arm) and Duron Harmon (arm). The Patriots are on a short week with the Jets coming in to town in four days for Thursday Night Football, and they won't have much time to lick their wounds.