Chris Johnson never had a chance. I'm not sure how much of it was the OLine. I was saying heading into this game that I wasn't worried about him. The reason wasn't about his talent but every other factor. The Pats pass-rush was slowed to keep containment of Jake Locker, meaning there wasn't a lot of blitzing or defenders over-pursuing. How many times did he even have a chance? Kyle Love is an underrated run-stuffing DT and he was working next to Vince Wilfork. Add in Chandler Jones, who continues abusing good LTs, and you got a good DLine. But it doesn't stop there as the Pats boasted 3 talented LBs in Jerod Mayo, Dont'a Hightower, and Brandon Spikes. It could be the best LBing group they've had since the Dynasty years. CJ2K will have an easier time vs. the Chargers front-7.
In no particular order...
Kenny Britt. His absence loomed very large even if injury was going to limit him had he been able to play. Washington and Cook did all they could and they look legit. If Wright played a little better, if Britt is there, the Titans could have very easily been competitive enough to beat the defending AFC-champions.
Jake Locker. I was extremely impressed with him. I was saying it would come down to his arm and he almost did it without his best target. He displayed what can only be described as brass balls. That play when he made the throe even as Chandler Jones was throwing him to the ground? Going deep on 3rd and inches? He looked very legit to me.
On D, your guys had to go up against Tom Brady, an explosive runner in Ridley, and then 4 receiving targets in Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Brandon Lloyd who all have ProBowl potential. Speaking of Gronk, if you saw his run-blocking you would understand why he's widely considered the best all-around TE in the game today. Lots of talent to deal with and it doesn't help when a guy like McCarthy goes down.
I hope Locker and Washington are back in action soon for you guys. The Pats will try dealing out wins over your divisional rivals to make up for it. In the meantime, best of luck going with the rest of the season.