PFW associate editor Kevin Fishbain presents a running meter that indicates the Patriots' top five MVP candidates up through their most recent game.
1. QB Tom Brady: Like everyone else on the Patriots' offense, it was not a game Brady would like to remember. He was visibly frustrated at times and threw behind receivers. A couple critical drops and a fumble near the goal line didn't help him. He threw for 224 yards and two TDs, but he completed just 19-of-36 passes. It's the third consecutive game in which Brady did not throw a pick.
2. TE Aaron Hernandez: The rookie finally found the endzone — twice — in Sunday's loss. He consistently has been the Patriots' leading receiver, but had yet to reach paydirt before Sunday. Hernandez made an athletic leap on a tipped ball for his first TD. He led the Patriots with five catches for 48 yards, and leads the team with 436 receiving yards on the season. He is sixth among tight ends in receiving yards.
3. ILB Jerod Mayo: Even though he again led the team in tackles, and still leads the league in the category, Sunday was one of those days where Mayo racked up tackles that did not help his team's cause. The Patriots allowed Peyton Hillis to rush for 184 yards, and part of that blame goes on Mayo. He is still having a solid season, but needs to rack up double-digit tackles at the line of scrimmage, not trailing a back as he enters the secondary.
4. RB-WR Danny Woodhead: Playing from behind most of the game, Woodhead got most of the carries. He led the Patriots with 92 total yards from scrimmage, including 54 yards on the ground. He gained six yards per carry. In six games, Woodhead has 406 yards from scrimmage, good for second on the team, and three total TDs. All this from a guy who people thought was signed purely as a move of gamesmanship before the Jets game.
5. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: The "Law Firm" deferred carries to Woodhead with the team playing from behind. He had just nine rushes for 14 yards after a career game in Week Eight. Green-Ellis still leads the team in rushing (385 yards) and TDs (six).