Takeaways from the Patriots’ Week 7 win over the Falcons

Similarly to the first 3 quarters of Super Bowl LI, one team dominated throughout last night’s game. The Patriots were able to take care of business, easily defeating the Atlanta Falcons 23-7.

Here are a few takeaways from last night’s game

1. The Patriots’ defense was aided by several unsung heroes

Kyle Van Noy, and Johnson Bademosi may not be household names, but the two of them were vital in allowing the Patriots to stop Atlanta’s high flying offense. Van Noy was acquired from Detroit last season, and has steadily improved since then. He was the defensive signal caller when Dont’a Hightower was sidelined earlier this year, and has shown his grit throughout this season. Last night, he had several key tackles, including a drive ending tackle on Taylor Gabriel at the one yard line. Bademosi was a special teams standout who was thrust into the starting lineup due to injuries sustained by Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe, and had the game of his life, covering Julio Jones and other Falcon receivers.

van noy tackle
(Photo by Charles Krupa/AP)

2. Dion Lewis and the Patriot rushing attack are back!

The Patriots had their best rushing game of the year, racking up 162 yards on the ground. The Patriots continued their practice of constantly rotating their running backs, with Lewis, Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, and James White all receiving touches. Lewis led the way with 13 carries for 76 yards. It is heartening to see Lewis return to his pre-injury form of 2015, when he shredded opponents. The Patriots should look to carry this momentum forward into their next game against the Los Angeles Chargers, as a successful rushing attack will make it easier for TB12 to dissect opposing defenses.

dion lewis falcons
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

3. TB12 was magnificant

Brady returned to form after a shaky performance against the New York Jets, going 21/29 for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Brady constantly dissected the Falcon’s overmatched defense, and he was able to make Atlanta regret going for it on fourth down in the waning moments of the first half, when he drove the Patriots down the field to make the score 17-0. Brady’s sole mistake of the game was an interception thrown to Robert Alford, which was wiped out due to a roughing the passer penalty.

tb falcons
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

4. The Patriots’ red zone efficiency can’t be overlooked

Although the Patriots played an incredible game in all three phases, one worrying aspect is their lack of success in the red zone. The Patriots got into the red zone 6 times, but only scored 2 touchdowns. The Pats’ offense was easily able to drive down the field, but constantly struggled to finish off their drives. They were lucky that the defense was able to dominate Atlanta’s offense, as merely scoring field goals was enough to close out the game.

james white falcons
(Photo by Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports)

BONUS: How beautiful were those Color Rush uniforms?

brady color rush
(Photo from the AP)

The Rematch

At one point in Super Bowl LI, the Atlanta Falcons led the Patriots 28-3, with a 99.99% chance of winning the game. However, the Patriots started to gain momentum when James White scored a touchdown to reduce the deficit to 28-9. This opened up the floodgates for the Patriots who rattled off 31 unanswered points to win the game 34-28 in overtime.

sb51 pic
(Photo by Simon Bruty/SI)

Ever since that fateful night in Houston, the Falcons have been ruthlessly mocked with memes and jokes featuring 28-3. Tonight they have an opportunity to exact revenge on the Pats, and possibly put the Super Bowl behind them. Oddly enough, both teams are struggling going into tonight’s game. The 2016 Falcons featured a high-octane offense, and the Patriots had the league’s best scoring defense. This year, the Falcons are struggling to close out games, and the Patriots are giving up a great amount of yards and points.

This game can prove to be a turning point for the season of both teams. For Atlanta, closing out the team that shocked them in February, may be the spark they need to perform better (their last two games featured them losing after having halftime leads). For the Patriots, shutting down a very good offense with a banged up defense may be the catalyst for them to turn the page on their early-season struggles.

 

ryan brady
(Photo by ESPN)

Will the Patriots remain triumphant or will Atlanta finally exorcise their late game demons? Either way, it’s bound to be a thrilling night in Foxborough…

COLOR RUSH!

Tonight when the Pats take on the Atlanta Falcons, they will be doing so wearing their Color Rush uniforms. As an uniform fanatic, I truly believe that this uniform is the best one in the Patriots’ closet. There’s just something about the traditional red and white stripes that pops out from the navy blue base. It harkens back to the beautiful AFL throwbacks, which the Patriots have ceased to wear due to an idiotic decision by the NFL (the NFL believes that it is dangerous for players to wear more than one helmet per year, even though equipment managers frequently have to replace helmets due to damage sustained during games). 

New York Jets v New England Patriots
 (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Robert Kraft has made it clear that he will not be getting rid of the so-called ‘Flying Elvis’ logo any time soon, but a possible compromise could be made. The Color Rush uniform proves that a combination of the two distinct styles the Patriots have utilized is actually effective. With that in mind, the Patriots should make their Color Rush jersey their permanent home jersey, with the addition of the white throwback pants. They could then bring back a red alternate, that would appease fans, and stick under the NFL’s current (and mind-boggling) guidelines.

img_5867.jpg
This is how my proposed uniform combination could look (this was created using Madden NFL 17)

I have nothing against the Patriots’ current uniform combos, as they are the symbol of the team’s success over the last 15 years, but red, silver, and blue is not the right color combination for a team known as the Patriots.

Takeaways from the Patriots’ Week 6 win over the Jets

The Patriots snuck by the New York Jets, winning the game 24-17. The Pats were able to overcome their early struggles in the first half, where they fell behind 14-0.

Here are 5 takeaways from yesterday’s game.

  1. Tom Brady was not as accurate as the Patriots need him to be

      Brady finished the game with 257 passing yards to go along with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Surprisingly, Brady had a completion percentage of around 50, which is a drop from 75% in Week 5. Throughout the game, Brady missed multiple throws, and some of his attempts were either behind his receivers or very low. The Patriots’ receivers needed to adjust to catch several of his throws. Brady’s initial frustration was evident, when he was caught cursing on the CBS broadcast. Brady eventually was able to help lead the Patriots to victory, but he needs to play better for them to have a better chance of winning in the future.

brady angry
(Photo from USA Today Sports)

2. TB12 and Brandin Cooks are finally building some chemistry

The Patriots’ biggest move of the offseason was trading their 1st round pick to New Orleans for receiver Brandin Cooks. In the beginning of the season, it was evident that Cooks and Brady were still searching for some common ground, as the two of them appeared to have miscommunication at times. Cooks’ breakout game was against the Houston Texans in Week 3, where he had several key catches, including the game-winning touchdown. Cooks followed that game up with a mediocre performance against the Carolina Panthers, where had only 3 catches for 38 yards. In the last 2 weeks, Cooks has recorded 5 catches for 85 yards, and 6 catches for 93 yards. It is becoming clear that he has earned Brady’s trust, and he was responsible for one of the game’s turning points, when he caught a 42 yard bomb to set up the game-tying score.

cooks jets.jpg
(Photo by Seth Wening/AP)

3. The Patriots’ defense is steadily improving

Although looking at the statistics of the Patriots’ defense may show how mediocre they have been playing (due to the fact that Josh McCown was the sixth straight quarterback to record a 300 yard game against them), it is clear that the Patriots’ defense is taking a step forward. In the beginning of the game, they struggled mightily, as they gave up 3 touchdowns, falling behind 14-0. However, the Jets scored their second touchdown with 12:18 left in the second quarter, and did not score again until the 3 minute mark in the fourth quarter. The Patriots’ defense was able to dominate the Jets’ rushing attack, and make McCown uneasy. One of the game’s turning points came in the end of the first half, when Malcolm Butler intercepted McCown, to set up the game-tying score.

butler jets
(Photo by Seth Wening/AP)

4. The Gronk is back!

Rob Gronkowski returned to form in the stadium where his season ended last year. Gronk recorded 6 catches for 83 yards, along with 2 touchdowns. In the closing seconds of the first half, Brady rifled a throw at Gronk in the endzone, which went right through the tight end’s hands. Brady’s trust in Gronk was evident, as they went for the same route on the next play, where Gronk corralled the football for a touchdown. Gronk’s breakthrough moment of the game came 3 minutes into the second half, when Jets’ safety Jamal Adams stumbled while trying to deflect a pass to Gronk, allowing #87 to easily score his 71st career touchdown.

gronk spike jets
(Photo by Abbie Parr/ Getty Images)

5. The Patriots’ offensive line performed much better

One of the biggest worries for the Patriots going into yesterday’s game was the number of hits TB12 was taking per game. The Jets’ defenders made it known that they intended to come after Brady by taking advantage of the Patriots’ weak offensive line. The offensive line was able to protect Brady much better against the Jets, as Brady was sacked zero times, and only absorbed 4 hits. This is a good start for the Patriots’ offensive line who need to carry this momentum forward.

pats o line
(Photo by Keith Nordstrom/AP)

How Much More Can TB12 Take?

Tom Brady is the 20th quarterback in NFL history to play a game after his 40th birthday.  In the eyes of many pundits, 40 is the age when most quarterbacks fall off the wagon, because after all, Father Time is undefeated. Several quarterbacks who neared 40, saw most of their skills significantly decline. For example, Brady’s chief rival Peyton Manning performed at a less than satisfactory level in his final season, only 2 years after he shattered several single season records.

On the contrary, Brady is performing at a level so high, that many analysts believe that he is even better than he was in his mid-20’s. Brady’s mastery was in full display in February’s Super Bowl LI, when he dissected the Atlanta Falcons for over 450 yards, while leading the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. However, an alarming fact that has become quite evident in the Patriots’ last 5 games is the amount of hits Brady is taking.

NFL: New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Brady has been sacked 16 times this year (1 more than all of 2016), and has been hit 32 times as well (1 less than all of last year). It is evident that the Patriots’ offensive line is struggling, as stars such as Nate Solder look like shadows of themselves. Last Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got after Brady, a far cry from their previous games, where they struggled to get after the quarterback.

Over the last few months, Brady has been promoting his TB12 Method, which he claims helps him avoid injury, due to the ‘pliability’ of his muscles. In an interview with CBS, Brady claimed that he prepares his muscles for the beating he will take in upcoming games (he calls the process ‘prehab’). Brady maybe more efficient and ruthless than he was in his mid-20’s, but getting pounded every given Sunday is going to make it harder for him to succeed. Brady’s unique diet and training may help him perform at a higher level, but his body can only take so much at his age.

tb12 method
(Photo from Simon & Schuster)

With TB12 nursing a shoulder injury heading into today’s game against the New York Jets, it raises the question of how much more can he possibly take?