FOXBORO -- For the second straight week, the Patriots defense made a key, game-changing goal line stand. And for the second week in a row, the offense responded with a 99-yard touchdown scoring drive after Jerod Mayo and Patrick Chung stopped Mike Tolbert at the Patriots 1 in the second quarter. 

"We said ever since training camp that the goal line has to be ours," Mayo said. "That mental toughness really shows up down there." 

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady picked up where he left off Monday night, throwing three touchdowns and passing for 423 yards while the defense forced four turnovers and made a pair of big first-half plays to lead the Patriots to a 35-21 win over the Chargers Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Brady, who completed 31-of-40 passes, became the seventh player in NFL history with more than 400 yards passing in consecutive games and the first ever to follow a 500-yard game with a 400-yard effort.

FOXBORO --  Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is expected to make his 2011 debut today as he is active for the home opener against the Chargers. He was inactive on Monday night in Miami with a sore back.

The Patriots inactives are Ryan Mallett, receiver Taylor Price, rookie running back Shane Vereen, linebacker Gary Guyton, offensive lineman Ryan Wendell, center Dan Koppen (left ankle) and defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion). Guyton and Price are both out with hamstring issues while Wendell is nursing a calf injury. 

Here are 10 matchups worth keeping an eye on when the Patriots meet the Chargers in New England’s home opener on Sunday afternoon:



Patrick Chung is the first Patriots player to be fined by the NFL during the regular season for an illegal play on the field.

Chung was informed this week by the league that he was docked $7,500 for hauling down Miami's Reggie Bush Monday night, in a move the league deemed he "unnecessarily grabbed the opponent by the helmet in an attempt to make a tackle."

Chung was also penalized 15 yards on the play for unnecessary roughness.

The Patriots released their Friday injury report, and center Dan Koppen and defensive lineman Mike Wright are officially listed as out for Sunday's game against San Diego. Here's the complete list:

OUT
C Dan Koppen (did not practice -- fibula)
DL Mike Wright (did not practice -- concussion)

QUESTIONABLE
LB Gary Guyton (limited participation -- hamstring)
WR Taylor Price (limited participation -- hamstring)
OL Sebastian Vollmer (limited participation -- back)

Fomer Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason, who is now with the Jets, was featured in a segment on Thursday night's installment of the NFL Network's "A Football Life," which caught an exchange between him and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

In the segment, Belichick said to Mason: "Oh, [bleep] you Mason, just [bleep] you. Why don't we talk after the game, just shut the [bleep] up." The coach's parting shot, "Can you look at the scoreboard?"

Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich has signed a two-year, $4 million extension. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound linebacker started 10 of 16 games last season, totaling 61 tackles, with four quarterback sacks and two interceptions. The 27-year-old, in his sixth season in the league, has become an integral part of the Patriots defense at the outside linebacker spot -- he played 42 of the 77 defensive snaps for New England in the regular-season opener Monday against the Dolphins.

FOXBORO -- For the second straight day, Mike Wright and Dan Koppen were the only missing players at the start of Patriots practice on the lower grass field outside Gillette Stadium. 

Wright has been out all week with a concussion suffered Monday in Miami while Koppen is out 6-10 weeks with a broken left ankle. Leigh Bodden, after missing Wednesday with a back issue, was again on the practice field as the team worked out in shorts and shells again. The Patriots are on a short week in preparation for the Chargers Sunday afternoon at Gillette in their home opener. 

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick said Friday he expects starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer to be available to play against the Chargers after missing Monday night's season opener in Miami with a sore back. Belichick suggested that Vollmer, rookie Nate Solder and Matt Light would likely work in a rotating system of tackles as the team continues to find its way along an offensive line that lost its starting center on Monday. 

"I would expect all three of those guys to play, Light Solder and Vollmer," Belichick said. "I'd think they all play."