Chandler Jones was dancing.



After completing 23-of-31 passes for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Tom Brady said the bloody nose that came along with a 34-13 season-opening win in Tennessee was more than worth it. 

"I never mind a little blood," said Brady, who appeared at his postgame press conference at LP Field in Nashville with a large white bandage on his nose. "[It's] not my usual look. That was the only good [hit] I took. It's always fun winning."

True to form, Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered measured praise for his team after New England opened the season with a 34-13 victory over the Titans on Sunday. "It's always nice to get off to a good start," Belichick said. "But we've got a long way to go." 

The coach did point out the play of rookies Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones after Jones sacked Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker and forced a fumble that Hightower recovered and returned for a touchdown. 

Tom Brady overcame a bloody nose to throw two touchdown passes, and Stevan Ridley rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots won their ninth straight opener, 34-13, over the Titans Sunday afternoon at LP Field in Nashville. Brady finished 23-of-31 for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Ridley carried the ball 21 times and added two catches for 27 yards. The Patriots run defense was spectacular all afternoon, holding Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson to a career-low four yards on 11 carries.

Rookies Jake Bequette, Justin Francis and Marcus Forston are among the Sunday additions to the Patriots inactive list for the opener against the Titans in Nashville. Also inactive on Sunday will be tight end Daniel Fells, rookie defensive back Alfonzo Dennard, offensive lineman Nick McDonald and running back Shane Vereen. 

Dennard (hamstring), McDonald (shoulder) and Vereen (foot) were all ruled out as inactive before Sunday's game. Dennard and McDonald were ruled out on Saturday after being limited on Friday in practice. Vereen did not practice all week. 

Logan Mankins will make his 2012 debut in Nashville, one year after tearing his right ACL in the Monday night opener in Miami, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter on Sunday. Schefter also reports Mankins tore his MCL in the same knee during the playoffs. Mankins went on to earn his fourth Pro Bowl berth at left guard. 

As the Patriots landed in Nashville for their game on Sunday against the Titans, the team ruled out two more players for the season opener. Offensive lineman Nick McDonald (shoulder) and rookie defensive back Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring) joined running back Shane Vereen (foot) as players who will miss the contest. 

McDonald injured his shoulder in the next-to-last preseason game on Aug. 24 against Tampa Bay while Dennard was a late addition to the injury report on Friday and was limited in practice. 

 

Here are 10 matchups we’ll be watching on Sunday when the Patriots meet the Titans:



FOXBORO -- Patriots running back Shane Vereen (left foot) again missed practice on Friday and has been ruled out for Sunday's season opener against the Titans in Tennessee. Rookie cornerback back Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring) was a Friday addition to the report and was limited at practice. Dennard is one of five players listed as questionable for Sunday, according to the team's official injury report.

Sports Illustrated NFL writer Peter King joined Mut & Merloni on Friday for his weekly discussion of the Patriots and NFL news.

The Patriots are lined up for another run at a Super Bowl, following their AFC title last season.