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The Patriots' offensive, defensive and special-teams players of the week from their 34-14 Week Nine loss to the Browns:
Offensive: TE Aaron Hernandez
There weren't many highlights on offense for the Patriots who stalled often while playing from behind. RB-WR Danny Woodhead played well in his role, but Hernandez gets the nod for his two TD catches — the first two of his career. Hernandez has been a great commodity inside the 20s, but had yet to find paydirt until Sunday. He made an athletic play, leaping to haul in a tipped ball on his first TD, and caught his second on a route sending him to the corner of the endzone. The rookie led the Patriots with five catches for 48 yards.
A couple players made solid plays in the game. CB Devin McCourty helped cause a forced fumble and at times was step-for-step with receivers, but he also lost on a jump ball. DL Ron Brace and Gerard Warren each had a tackle for loss, but how can we reward a defensive lineman after the line was manhandled by the Browns' O-line while RB Peyton Hillis rushed for 184 yards? Same goes for the linebackers, where Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes racked up tackles, but also failed to keep a Browns running game that piled up 230 yards in check. The Pats' defense has been their weakness all season, but the team had found ways to keep winning games until Sunday, when everything broke down in an all-around poor effort.
Special teams: WR Matthew Slater
In a game where P Zoltan Mesko could have made his mark due to the Patriots' offensive issues, he did not, averaging just over 33 net yards punting. PK Stephen Gostkowski left the game with a thigh injury. WR Wes Welker gets an honorable mention for coming in and kicking an extra point and booting a kickoff. But Slater had two special-teams tackles, one on the opening kick return and the other a punt return when Josh Cribbs appeared to have an opening, only for Slater to close it up.