The Patriots went into the Meadowlands Sunday with a record identical to their opponents’, something no one could have predicted at the start of the season. The media had been talking about an 0-16 season for the Jets, but coach Todd Bowles, quarterback Josh McCown and the rest of the team have proved the media wrong. Whoever came out on top in this game would lead the AFC East, but this didn’t look like 2 good teams fighting it out for the division.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first – the defense, especially in passing, looked awful. I would have never predicted that the Super Bowl Champions would return and deliver the 32nd ranked defense in the National Football League, but here we are. They have given up an average, an AVERAGE of 440 yards of offense per game. Most of that, of course, through the air.
Thursday Night Football has historically not provided us with entertaining games. Two teams, both usually on a short week, duke it out on the nationally televised stage. After a heartbreaking loss at home to the Carolina Panthers last week, mainly credited to the poor performance of the offensive line and communication issues on the defense, the New England Patriots headed to Tampa Bay to take on Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.
The Patriots emerged the victors, and there were definitely some good elements to the game, but there is still a lot of work to do to make this team better. The Patriots, who are used to being at the top looking down in the AFC East division standings, are in a 3 way tie for first place with the Buffalo Bills, who have been playing good football, and the New York Jets. Some thoughts from the Patriots’ win over the Buccaneers:
There was a time when a victory at Gillette Stadium for quarterback Tom Brady was almost guaranteed. That time has passed. Brady’s record at home before this season for regular season games was 101-16. So far this season, the Patriots have played at home 3 times – and lost twice. They lost their second home game of the season to quarterback Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers doing what Brady normally does: running out the clock and putting his time in a position to win the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
In a game where both the offense and defense seemed to struggle, the Patriots pulled out a win on yet another quarterback Tom Brady game winning, game ending drive (the 50th in his career). Brady connected on a 25 yd pass to speedster wide reciever Brandin Cooks, who made a spectacular catch to put the Patriots ahead 36-33 after the successful 2 point conversion attempt, leaving the Texans with 23 seconds left for Houston Texans’ rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to make something happen. It wasn’t meant to be.
This wasn’t one of the Patriots’ best games, and as I mentioned last week, the Texans’ defense is tough – they’re big and they’re fast, and even with their starting secondary depleted, they managed to give Patriots receivers a difficult time. Thoughts on this game….
The Offensive Line needs to do a LOT better than they did this week. Brady was sacked 5 times in the game on Sunday for a loss of 41 yds, and honestly, every time Brady caught the snap, I was afraid for him. Tackle Nate Solder especially seemed unable to block the quick Texan defense. Not only was Brady sacked, but he was hit 8 times, including a hit taken when guard Joe Thuney was run over on the pass to Cooks for the touchdown.
Running game was virtually shut down by the Texans’ defense. Only 59 yds rushing and no rushing touchdowns. Offensive line play definitely contributed to the problem here.
After the home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on the national stage last week, the New England Patriots needed to come out of Week 2 with a convincing win. They completed that task with a win in New Orleans over the Saints, 36-20. Tom Brady looked like well, Tom Brady, throwing for over 400 yards and three touchdowns, completing 30 of 39 pass attempts, earning him an impressive 139.6 passer rating.
With Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola out on offense, and Dont’a Hightower out on defense, it was unclear how the team was going to perform. But faith in Bill Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff insured that the Patriots, even on the road, would bounce back from their loss the week before.
The offense really came to life, with three touchdowns in the first quarter, with passes to Rex Burkhead, Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan respectively. Brady even played referee, making a case for the crew to pick up the flag thrown for an illegal pick since the block was within one yard from the line of scrimmage limit. Mike Gillislee scored a fourth touchdown in the second quarter following fullback James Develin into the end zone, and with a 28 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal, the Patriots had 30 points by halftime, allowing only 13 for Drew Brees and the Saints.
But as good as the offense was, there was a price – injuries. Rex Burkhead and Rob Gronkowski both left the game with rib and groin injuries respectively. Gronk’s injury was particularly concerning, as it looked at first like he might have reinjured the back which caused him to miss the end of the 2016 season and the Super Bowl.Continue reading “Patriots Right the Ship vs Saints”→
It was supposed to be a celebratory night. The New England Patriots had prepared a spectacle to unveil the brand new Super Bowl championship banner from their unlikely victory against the Atlanta Falcons this past February. They brought back standout players from each victory before, and the atmosphere was electric at Gillette Stadium.
The first game in a new football season is always so exciting, and a home opener after winning a Super Bowl just takes it to another level. The Patriots with Tom Brady at the helm are, after all, almost unbeatable at home. They had seemingly had a great offseason adding some offensive weapons to Brady’s arsenal, especially important with the season ending loss of Julian Edelman to a torn ACL in preseason. But Thursday night was like going to bed and having the best dream, to being woken up from a nightmare.