The Pats flatten Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football!

TEAM

1

2

3

4

T

PIT 0 0 3 0 3

NE

7 13 10 3 33

The Patriots once again showed that they are still amongst the NFL’s elite with a 33-3 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Pats were dominant on both sides of the ball, and also thoroughly out-coached the Steelers.

Here are some takeaways from yesterday’s game.

1. Gordon and Dorsett lead the way for the offense!

Entering this season, wide receiver was one of the major question marks for the Patriots, but last night dispelled those doubts, due to the brilliant performances of Josh Gordon, Philip Dorsett, and Julian Edelman. Gordon’s first catch of the season was a awe-inspiring 20-yard touchdown, where he broke through multiple tackles en route to the end zone. Gordon followed that up with an amazing 44-yard reception down the field where he absorbed a brutal hit while corralling the ball. Phillip Dorsett finished the night with 2 touchdowns, including a 58-yard score, where he was completely wide open down the field. Julian Edelman was his usual reliable self, as he consistently got open to serve as Tom Brady’s safety blanket. Edelman also helped provide a spark with his arm, when he perfectly executed a double pass to James White.

The Patriots have demonstrated over the years that they have no issue changing their offensive identity, and last night was no different. New England primarily depended on their passing attack, as the team’s stable of running backs combined for only 99 yards.

josh gordon w1.jpg
(Photo via SI)

2. Tom Brady was effective as per usual

Tom Brady started off the game erratic, with several misthrows that derailed the Patriots’ first drive. Following Edelman’s double throw, Brady got back into routine, as he proceeded to dissect the Steelers defense for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns. A major factor for Brady’s brilliant performance was the offensive line, who only gave up one sack despite the season-long absence of center David Andrews and the injury of OT Marcus Cannon. Most importantly, LT Isaiah Wynn was spectacular at covering Brady’s blindside in his professional debut.

tom brady w1.jpg
(Photo via SI)

3. The defense absolutely suffocated Pittsburgh’s offense

Yesterday was the third straight game where the Patriots shut out their opponent in the first half. Ben Roethlisberger was never allowed to be comfortable, as the Patriots were able to apply constant pressure on him. In addition, New England’s corners clamped down on Pittsburgh’s receivers, with Stephon Gilmore winning his matchup against Juju Smith-Schuster. Donte Moncrief was targeted a team-high 10 times, but only managed 3 catches for 7 yards. The Steelers’ lone offensive highlight was a 45 yard pass to James Washington. The Patriots also completely neutralized Pittsburgh’s rushing attack, as James Connor only managed 21 yards off of 10 carries.

Continuing to perform like this will solidify the Pats defense as one of the NFL’s best units.

sg w1.png
(Photo via CBS Sports)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

  • Passing: Tom Brady- 24/36 for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns
  • Rushing: Rex Burkhead- 8 carries for 44 yards
  • Receiving: Phillip Dorsett- 4 receptions for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Defensive: Jason McCourty- 7 tackles

Steelers

  • Passing: Ben Roethlisberger- 27/47 for 276 yards and 1 interception
  • Rushing: James Connor- 10 carries for 21 yards
  • Receiving: Juju Smith-Schuster- 6 receptions for 78 yards
  • Defensive: Devin Bush- 11 tackles

 

What’s next?: The Patriots will head down to Miami for the first time since the ‘Miami Miracle’, where they’ll take on a lowly Dolphins team (0-1) that gave up 59 points in a loss to the Ravens. This game should also mark the debuts of Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas as Patriots. In addition, Kyle Van Noy will likely make his season debut, as he missed yesterday’s game due to the birth of his first child.

The Pats welcome the red hot Fins to Foxborough!

It’s almost impossible to understate the importance of the Patriots’ next game, as they host the scorching hot Miami Dolphins (3-0) in Week 4. Coming off of last week’s absolute dud against the Lions, the Pats cannot afford to fall to 1-3 and 3 games off the division lead.

Here are some things to consider entering today’s game.

1. Matching up against Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins’ offense

The Pats’ defense’s struggles over the last two weeks has been heavily documented, as they could not defend against the run or the pass against the Jaguars and Lions, respectively. This week’s matchup against the Dolphins could either get New England’s defense back on track or set them back even further, as they face off against a revitalized Ryan Tannehill, Kenyan Drake, and the rest of Miami’s explosive offense. One of my major takeaways from last week’s game in Detroit, was that the Patriots’ secondary looked very disoriented, which enabled Matthew Stafford to easily dissect them and find his receivers. Bill Belichick and Brian Flores will need to find a way to limit the effectiveness of ex-Patriot Danny Amendola, and Kenny Stills (who has the potential to carve the Patriots down the field), as it will put extra pressure on Tannehill.

Thankfully for the Patriots, injured players Trey Flowers (concussion) and Patrick Chung (concussion) practiced earlier this week and are questionable to play today. The presence of both players would be able to reenergize the stale pass rush and secondary of the Pats. On the other hand, it was saddening to see the Pats put linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley on injured reserve, as he had been remarkable over the past few weeks.

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(Photo by Matthew Healey/ UPI)

2. Can the the Brady Bunch find its rhythm? 

It’s pretty easy to blame the Patriots’ 1-2 record on the defense, but Tom Brady & Co. haven’t really kept up their end of the bargain either, as they have constantly struggled to move the ball down the field. As mentioned in last week’s recap, it’s become increasingly easy to defend the Patriots’ offense, as doubling Rob Gronkowski enables opposing defenses to have great success, with the other Patriot wide receivers being unable to get open. It will be vital for the Patriots to get James White involved early, as he can be a key asset for both the running and passing games. Tom Brady will also need to rebound from his putrid performance from a week ago, as him being successful is vital for the Pats to win.

For those who are wondering when Josh Gordon will make his debut as a Patriot, he is questionable to play today. 

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(Photo by Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

Prediction: Patriots 27, Dolphins 19

Here are my predictions for the rest of the NFL’s Week 4 contests (excluding Thursday Night Football).

Last Week: 6-9

Jets at Jaguars: Jaguars

Eagles at Titans: Eagles

Texans at ColtsColts

Bills at PackersPackers

Lions at CowboysCowboys

Buccaneers at BearsBears

Bengals at FalconsFalcons

Seahawks at Cardinals: Cardinals

Browns at RaidersBrowns

Saints at GiantsSaints

49ers at ChargersChargers

Ravens at SteelersRavens

Chiefs at Broncos: Chiefs

 

 

 

 

Wakeup Call?: The Pats get outclassed in Duval County!

TEAM 1 2 3 4 T
JAX 14 7 3 7 31
NE 3 7 0 14 20

The Patriots suffered an ugly loss today, as they fell 31-20 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a rematch of January’s AFC Championship Game. Jacksonville thoroughly outplayed the Pats on both sides of the ball, as they grabbed the lead early and never let it up. 

Here are some takeaways from today’s loss.

1. The Jacksonville offense had its way with the Pats’ defense

The Pats’ defense took a serious step back from last week’s impressive performance against the Houston Texans, as they were porous and inept against Blake Bortles and the Jaguars’ offense. Playing without his top weapon in Leonard Fournette, Bortles did not miss a step, as he had 377 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Today’s game was reminiscent of the first 3 and a half quarters of the AFC Championship Game, as Jacksonville dictated the pace of the game with strong rushes and passes. However, unlike the Championship Game, the Jaguars kept up their pace, which enabled them to finish off the Patriots. In the second half, after forcing 2 turnovers, it appeared as if the Patriots defense finally had its act together, but they ended up giving a 61-yard dagger when Dede Westbrook went uncovered across the middle of the field. To add insult to injury, the Pats lost 2 key starters in Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung, as both players suffered concussions.

jags offense 1
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

 2. The Patriots’ offense was absolutely anemic

The Patriots started off today’s game by advancing to the Jaguars’ 38-yard line, with a balanced rushing/passing attack, but they ended their opening drive with a missed field goal. Following that drive, the Jaguars put their clamps on the Pats’ offense, with the Brady Bunch scoring their first points with 8 minutes left in the second quarter. Jalen Ramsey and the Jags defense backed up their talk, as they limited Rob Gronkowski to 2 catches for 15 yards, and constantly harassed Tom Brady throughout the game. As CBS’ Tony Romo mentioned, the effect of the Jags’ pass rush was evident, as Brady tried to operate as quickly as possible. The sole bright spots for the Patriots’ offense were James White who had over 70 receiving yards, and Chris Hogan who caught both of Brady’s touchdowns. When it appeared as if the Patriots had gained momentum following a fourth quarter Bortles interception, Dante Fowler Jr. strip-sacked Brady, which prevented the Pats from trimming their 11 point deficit.

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(Photo via USA TODAY)

What’s next: The Pats head to the Motor City to take on their former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and the winless Detroit Lions (0-2)

Brady & Gronk lead the Pats to win against the Texans!

Team 1 2 3 4 T
HOU 3 3 7 7 20
NE 7 14 3 3 27

The Patriots opened their 2018-19 campaign with a resounding 27-20 victory against the Houston Texans. The Pats had a well-rounded effort, as both their defense and offense had impressive outings against the dynamic Texans.

Here are some takeaways from today’s game.

1. Brady and Gronk pick up where they left off 

The last time Patriots’ fans saw Brady and Gronk together on the field, they combined to shred through the Eagles’ defense with 9 receptions for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Super Bowl.  Today’s game against the Texans was no different, as Brady & Gronk picked up where they left off, with Gronk totaling 7 receptions for 123 yards and 1 touchdown. Gronk was frequently double-teamed by the Texans defense, but he was still able to have a huge impact on the game, with one prime example being his first quarter touchdown, where he beat a Texans’ double team for a touchdown along the sideline. Gronk’s sole blunder of the game was when he fumbled the ball following a long reception which gave the Texans great field position.

gronk v texans.jpg
(Photo via Getty Images)

2. Receivers and backs step up to silence their doubters

For much of the offseason, analysts and pundits have questioned the Patriots’ depth at wide receiver, due to key departures such as Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks, and also Julian Edelman’s 4-game suspension. The Pats’ depth at receiver became even more suspect during the course of the preseason, as they released Malcolm Mitchell, Jordan Matthews, and Kenny Britt, while losing Eric Decker to retirement. As I mentioned earlier, Gronk was the focal point of the Pats’ offense today, but receivers such as Phillip Dorsett  stepped up, as he had 7 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown (following a 2017 season in which he was pretty much non-existent in the offense). Cordarrelle Patterson flashed his potential, even though he didn’t have the most statistically dominant game, as he had 1 catch for 6 yards, and 3 rushes for 13 yards, but it was evident that the Patriots are figuring out how to utilize his tantalizing speed. The Pats’ stable of running backs, including James White and Rex Burkhead were also consistent as usual, as they helped relieve pressure off of Brady.

dorsett v texans
(Photo via NESN)

The Patriots’ defense starts the year with a statement

While the Patriots’ offense ended last year with a strong performance in the Super Bowl, the defense did not have the same fortune, as they were constantly burnt by Nick Foles and the Eagles. Hence, one of the biggest question marks entering this season was the ability of the defense to rebound after their nightmarish performance on the biggest stage, and also after losing defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. I think it’s safe to say that the Pats’ defense is in good shape, after today’s dominant performance. Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise led the rejuvenated Patriots’ pass rush which was able to constantly get after Deshaun Watson, and sack him 3 times. The Pat’s secondary was also consistent, as they didn’t allow the Texans to spread the field effectively with their dynamic receiver Deandre Hopkins, and they were also able to pick off Watson in the end zone. However, one area of concern for the Patriots’ could be their run defense, as they were gashed by Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue who combined for 134 yards on the ground.

trey flowers v texans.jpg
(Photo via Boston Globe/Getty Images)

 

What’s next: The Pats head down to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars in a rematch of January’s competitive AFC Championship Game