FOXBORO, Mass. — Defensive end Andre Carter started at the top Monday night, squaring off against Dolphins left tackle Jake Long, who has become one of the best in the NFL.

It might be Carter's greatest one-on-one challenge this season, and he emerged from the victory with one sack. It was his only tackle and quarterback hit, so the matchup could be considered a draw. The Patriots would probably take that.

"It's something that I still have to study and re-study," Carter said about his performance against Long. "I did some good things and some other things technically that I have to continue to work on. I think sometimes my rushes were too far wide, but other than that, I can't really grade myself. I'm my own worst critic."

Carter was asked if it's fair to label Long as the best left tackle in the business. He responded with an indirect answer.

"Yeah, from what I've heard," Carter said. "I respect him. You respect any man that you go up against. It's the nature of the business. You're always going to go head to head. They win some, and you win some. At the end of the day, it's definitely one of those hard-fought battles that you enjoy each week.

"Every week is a test. The guy that you went against the week before, there's another guy that's always better or at the same level, so you've got to constantly perfect your game."