Patriots take care of Titans, 34-13, in season opener

If there was a question as to whether the two Patriots' first round draft choices would pay early dividends, it was answered in the second quarter of New England's opener against the Tennessee Titans.

Chandler Jones stripped Jake Locker in the end zone, and Dont'A Hightower scooped up the loose ball at the six-yard line and carried it in for a touchdown to make the score 14-3 in the Patriots' favor with 11:16 left in the first half.

New England would go on to beat the Titans, 34-13, at LP Field in Nashville behind two passing touchdowns and 236 yards from Tom Brady. Brady completed 23-of-31 passes. Second-year running back Stevan Ridley rushed for a career-high 125 yards and a score.

Brady connected with his tight ends on both touchdowns. He found Hernandez from 23 yards out with 2:05 left in the first quarter for the team's first touchdown, more than six minutes after Rob Bironas opened the scoring with a 26-yard field goal. With 2:06 left in the half, Brady found Rob Gronkowski in the back corner of the end zone. Gronkowski got both feet inbounds to complete the diving catch and send New England to the locker room with a 21-3 halftime lead.

After the Patriots punted on the second half's first possession, Locker finished an 80-yard rive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington. That was the closest Tennessee would come to the Patriots the rest of the day. Ridley scored on a one-yard run late in the third, and Gostkowski kicked two field goals in the fourth quarter.

Brandon Lloyd, in his first game as a Patriot, had five receptions for 69 yards. Wes Welker caught just three passes for 14 yards and Julian Edelman had one catch for seven yards. Gronkowski and Hernandez had six catches apiece for 60 and 59 yards, respectively. Ridley added 27 receiving yards on two catches and rookie Brandon Bolden saw action at running back late in the fourth quarter, running for 11 yards on five carries. Danny Woodhead finished with 20 yards on six carries.

Locker, who finished with 229 yards on 32 attempts and threw one touchdown and one interception, left the game with what appeared to be a left shoulder injury. Matt Hasselback completed 6-of-11 passes for 43 yards in relief duty. The Patriots' defense held Chris Johnson to a mere four yards on 11 carries. Jerod Mayo led New England with 13 tackles and Devin McCourty, playing against his twin brother Jason, finished with seven. Jones and Jermaine Cunningham recorded a sack apiece and Tavon Wilson's diving interception off a Kyle Arrington deflection was his first career pick.