The Pats tame the Bears in thrilling game at Soldier Field!

TEAM

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4

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CHI 10 7 7 7 31

NE

7 14 10 7 38

The Patriots outlasted the Chicago Bears (3-3) in a back-and-forth game at Soldier Field, with a 38-31 victory that improved them to 5-2 on the season. Playing without key contributors on offense and an inconsistent defense, the Pats relied on special teams to pull out their first road victory of the year.

Here are some takeaways from today’s game.

1. The offense was brilliant once again without key playmakers

The Pats took on the Bears without Rob Gronkowski, who didn’t make the trip to Chicago due to back and ankle injuries. They started the game hot, as they dissected the vaunted Bears defense en route to a Julian Edelman touchdown on their opening drive. However, things went downhill from there, as their third drive resulted in Sony Michel suffering a knee injury (which did not look good) and a fumble that helped Chicago take a 17-7 lead. The Patriots displayed their mental fortitude as they were able to bounce back and regain the lead in the second quarter. Tom Brady was his usual self, as he threw for over 270 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with an interception. James White and Kenjon Barner served as a serviceable running back duo, as they helped spread the field for the Patriots. Without Gronk in the lineup, the Pats relied on their trio of receivers in Julian Edelman (5 catches for 36 yards and 1 touchdown), Josh Gordon (4 catches for 100 yards), and Chris Hogan (6 catches for 63 yards). The offensive line performed well against the talented Chicago pass rush, as Brady was only sacked 1 time, and was not touched much throughout the game.

 Sony Michel’s injury is concerning for the rest of the season, as he had proved himself to be a valuable contributor, and the combination of Michel and White was extremely potent for Josh McDaniels’ offense. There hasn’t been any word on the severity of his injury, but let’s hope that he isn’t out for an extended period of time. I also believe that the Patriots shouldn’t rush Rob Gronkowski back into the lineup, as I think that it’s important to allow him to recover and stay healthy as the season progresses.  

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(Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

2. The defense had another up-and-down performance

Following their dreadful performance against the Chiefs, it was interesting to see how the Pats’ defense would rebound against Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense, and the best word to describe their performance is inconsistent. Early on in the game, they were able to shut down Chicago’s passing game, but they could not contain Trubisky outside of the pocket, as he frequently scampered for first downs off of big gains. Trubisky had a 8-yard touchdown run, and also had a 39-yard run during which he maneuvered around hapless Patriots’ defenders. Despite their inability to stop Trubisky from running the ball, the Pats were able to make life hard for his receivers, as only Trey Burton (9 receptions for 126 yards and 1 touchdown) and Tarik Cohen (8 catches for 69 yards and 1 touchdown) had great performances. Another area of concern for the Pats was their number of penalties (4 penalties for 29 yards), which helped to extend drives for Chicago. 

The Pats were able to make up for their early miscues, as they forced Trubisky into 2 second half interceptions and most of Chicago’s fourth quarter yardage came in garbage time. Today’s game ended in thrilling fashion, as the Bears’ Hail Mary attempt resulted in Kevin White being tackled at the one-yard line, due to a wall of defenders led by Duron Harmon.

pats bears hial mary
(Photo by John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

3. Special Teams came up big!

The Patriots’ special teams did not start very well today, as Cordarrelle Patterson fumbled a kickoff which gave the Bears fantastic field position and led to them snatching the lead. Patterson was able to recover from his miscue, as he returned a second quarter kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown, as he outmaneuvered the Bears’ kickoff unit and helped the Patriots trim their deficit to 17-14. In the third quarter, Dont’a Hightower blocked a punt, which led to a touchdown by Kyle Van Noy which gave the Patriots a lead that they would never relinquish. Interestingly enough, this was the first game in Patriots’ history that featured the men in blue score on a blocked punt and a kickoff. It’s always heartening to see special teams step up when the team requires a spark in order to emerge victorious. 

patterson kickoff w7
(Photo by Barry Chin/ Boston Globe)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

  • Passing: Tom Brady – 25/36 for 277 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception
  • Rushing: James White – 11 carries for 40 yards
  • Receiving: Josh Gordon – 4 catches for 100 yards 
  • Defensive: Patrick Chung – 6 tackles

Bears

  • Passing: Mitch Trubisky – 26/50 for 333 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions
  • Rushing: Mitch Trubisky – 6 carries for 81 yards, and 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: Trey Burton – 9 catches for 126 yards, and 1 touchdown
  • Defensive: Danny Trevathan – 10 tackles

 

What’s next?: The Pats head to Buffalo to take on their rival, the Buffalo Bills (2-5) on Monday Night Football.  

 

 

Showtime vs the GOAT!

On Sunday Night Football, the Patriots take on the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) in a contest that may help to determine the flow of the 2019 AFC Playoffs. Coming off of a dominant 2-game winning streak, the Patriots will have their hands full against second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his assortment of weapons…

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

1. More of the same?

The last two times the Patriots have faced the Chiefs in the regular season, it has been rather lopsided in favor of Kansas City, as Andy Reid’s team has outscored the Pats 83-44, which may not sound encouraging for most Pats fans. Both games (in 2014 & 2017, respectively) featured an absolutely porous New England defense, along with Tom Brady running for his life, due to the inability of the offensive line to protect him. Most analysts project this game to be a shootout (which doesn’t bode well for the Pats defense), but Brady should be much more well-protected, as his offensive line is now amongst the top ten offensive lines in the league.

james white v chiefs 17.jpg
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

2. Gronk vs Kelce

Rob Gronkowski has been one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history, ever since his entry to the league in 2010. Gronk’s position as the NFL’s top tight end has not really been questioned until now, as there are several analysts who now believe that Kansas City’s tight end, Travis Kelce, has surpassed Gronk. Reporters took advantage of this week’s matchup to question Gronk on his feelings about Kelce. Naturally, Gronk complimented Kelce’s ability as a pass-catcher and made a point of mentioning that this week’s game was between the Patriots and the Chiefs, not Gronk and Kelce. Putting my bias aside, I truly believe that Gronk is the superior tight end, as he is both a dynamic pass-catcher and a hell of a blocker for the running game. In comparison, Kelce is a great pass-catcher who benefits from having dynamic talents around him, and at the same time, he cannot block well at all.

gronk kelce.jpg
(Photo via NBC Sports)

3. Slowing down Mahomes & Co.

Patrick Mahomes has been seen as a legitimate MVP candidate due to his performance over the last 5 weeks, as he has thrown for over 1500 yards and 14 touchdowns. Mahomes has demonstrated an ability to get away from pressure and dissect defenses down the field with his impressive throwing arm. Unfortunately for the Pats, they’ll also have to deal with running back Kareem Hunt, who had his coming out party against them in last year’s opener, with over 250 total yards from scrimmage. Add in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to the mix, and it’s going to be hard for the Patriots to shut down all of Kansas City’s weapons. Luckily enough for Bill Belichick, he and his staff have had over 10 days to prepare for the Chiefs, so expect the Pats to have some tricks up their sleeves.

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(Photo by Charlie Riedel/AP)

4. Can the Brady Bunch keep pace with KC?

Last week’s game against the Colts was a good omen for the Pats offense, as they welcomed back Julian Edelman back from suspension, and received valuable contributions from other playmakers including Josh Gordon, Sony Michel, and James White. At the same time, the offense was slightly sloppy in the second half, which made the game too close for comfort. The Pats will need to be on their A-game on Sunday if they hope to keep up with Mahomes and the Chiefs. The Pats should be in for a shootout, as Kansas City’s defense currently ranks as the NFL’s worst defense in terms of yards allowed and they may be playing without two of their most important defenders in Eric Berry and Justin Houston, respectively. If the Pats can play at their highest potential, they will have a good chance of knocking off the undefeated Chiefs.

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(Photo by Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

Injury Report

Patriots

  • Malcom Brown (knee) – Questionable
  • Josh Gordon (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Geneo Grissom (ankle) – Questionable
  • Rob Gronkowski (ankle) – Questionable
  • Chris Hogan (thigh) – Questionable
  • Sony Michel (knee) – Questionable
  • Eric Rowe (groin) – Questionable
  • Danny Shelton (elbow) – Questionable
  • John Simon (shoulder) – Questionable

Chiefs

  • Eric Berry (heel) – Doubtful
  • Justin Houston (hamstring) – Doubtful
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon (ankle) – Questionable
  • Eric Murray (ankle) – Out
  • De’Anthony Thomas (tibia) – Out

Prediction: Patriots 37, Chiefs 31

Here are my predictions for the rest of the NFL’s Week 6 contests

Last week: 8-6

Buccaneers at Falcons: Falcons

Panthers at Redskins: Panthers

Seahawks at Raiders: Seahawks

Colts at Jets: Colts

Cardinals at Vikings: Vikings

Steelers at Bengals: Bengals

Chargers at Browns: Chargers

Bills at Texans: Texans

Bears at Dolphins: Bears

Rams at Broncos: Rams

Ravens at Titans: Ravens

Jaguars at Cowboys: Jaguars

49ers at Packers: Packers

The Pats overcome a sloppy second half to put away the Colts!

TEAM

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IND 0 3 7 14 24

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7 17 0 14 38

Yesterday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts (1-4) was truly a tale of two halves, as the Patriots started blistering hot in the first half, but made a series of mental mistakes in the second half that enabled Andrew Luck and the Colts to get back in the game. Thankfully, Bill Belichick’s team was able to get their act together, and close out Indy with a final score of 38-24 in order to improve to 3-2 on the season.

Here are some takeaways from last night’s victory.

1. TB12 and the offense will only continue to get better

The major headline leading into yesterday’s game was the return of Julian Edelman from his 4 game suspension. #11 did not miss a beat, as he caught the game’s first pass, and also had 2 other receptions on the Patriots’ first drive which spanned 6 minutes and put the Patriots up early. Edelman had 7 receptions for 57 yards, which may not look very special, but it’s hard to deny the impact his presence had on the rest of the offense.

Tom Brady had a pretty good game last night, as he completed 34 of 44 passes for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns, to go along with 2 interceptions ( more on those later). Brady was surgically efficient right from the get-go, and his successful night can be attributed to the offensive line’s remarkable performance, as he was rarely touched or disturbed throughout the game. Last night’s performance for the GOAT can also be described as record breaking, as he completed a touchdown to a record 71st different receiver, and also reached 500 touchdowns on his career (only Peyton Manning and Brett Favre have more).

Brady also had solid contributions from his other pass-catchers, including James White (10 receptions for 77 yards and 1 touchdown) and Rob Gronkowski (6 receptions for 75 yards), who enabled the Patriots to stretch the field with ease. Josh Gordon certainly frustrated both fantasy owners and Brady in the first half, but he proved his worth in the second half with 2 catches for 50 yards, including a 34 yard jaw-dropping touchdown under double coverage in the fourth quarter which helped put the game away. It’s important to note that Gordon is dealing with a nagging hamstring injury and is still getting acclimated with the Patriots’ system. Hence, Brady having the confidence to fling a deep ball to Gordon speaks volumes about the work he has put in and makes us optimistic about his future with the team.

Sony Michel had another solid performance on the ground, as he had 18 carries for 98 yards and a game-sealing 34-yard touchdown. Michel has clearly improved as the season has progressed, and his elusiveness and decision-making make him a threat to be wary of for opposing defenses.

At the same time, yesterday’s game was not without blunders for the Brady Bunch. As mentioned earlier, #12 had 2 interceptions which cannot be completely pinned on him. The first interception went through the hands of Chris Hogan and right into the hands of a Colts defender, while the second one was caused by a defender smashing Gronk, which tipped the ball to another Colts defender. These two plays occurred in the red zone, when the Pats were driving and threatening to extend their lead over Indy. As a result, instead of going up 31-10 and finishing the game, they gave the Colts new life and only a 7 point deficit.

Another thing to pay attention to is Gronk’s lingering ankle injury, as he was noticably limping throughout the game. Gronk’s health will be vital for the Patriots to have a chance at another Super Bowl run.

There were enough bright spots in yesterday’s game to be highly optimistic about the performance of the offense for the rest of the season.

jules v colts w5.jpg
(Photo by Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)

2. The defense was very inconsistent

The Pats’ defense was rock solid in the first half, as they were able to limit the Colts to 3 points, which allowed the Pats to take a 24-3 halftime lead. However, they allowed Andrew Luck and the Colts offense to find a rhythm in the second half, as Indy was able to trim their deficit to 24-17. It was disappointing to see the pass rush only sack Luck once, considering the very public struggles the Indianapolis offensive line has had over the last few seasons. Also, Devin McCourty had a dreadful game last night, as he gave up two touchdowns on man coverage.

At the same time, the secondary was opportunistic, as they were able to pick off Luck twice. Devin McCourty also made up for his blunders by ripping the ball from a Colts running back in the third quarter (following Brady’s first interception). I think it’s fair to say that the offense’s sloppy start to the second half put the defense in unfavorable circumstances. On the plus side, the Pats defense will have 10 days to regroup and study film before their big matchup with the Chiefs in Week 6.

andrew luck v pats w5.jpg
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

Passing: Tom Brady – 34/44 for 341 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception

Rushing: Sony Michel – 18 carries for 98 yards and 1 touchdown

Receiving: James White – 10 receptions for 77 yards and 1 touchdown off of 14 targets

Defensive: Devin McCourty – 11 tackles and one forced/recovered fumble

Colts

Passing: Andrew Luck – 38/59 for 365 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions

Rushing: Nyheim Hines – 15 carries for 45 yards

Receiving: Eric Ebron – 9 receptions for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns off of 15 targets

Defensive: Lenzy Pipkins – 6 tackles

 

Bonus: Take a look at what @CaptAndrewLuck had to say about last night’s game.

What’s next?: The Pats have a big matchup against Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) which could very well help to decide home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs down the line.

Reigniting the rivalry?: The Pats face the Colts for the first time in 3 seasons!

In the early 2000’s, the Patriots and Colts had one of the most competitive rivalries in the NFL, as the two teams frequently waged battle to see who would reign over the rest of the AFC. However, the rivalry faded following the departure of Peyton Manning from Indy, and the matchup has been one-sided in favor of the Patriots in recent memory.

 There are several analysts who believe that the rivalry has been reignited due to Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels accepting and then turning down the Colts’ head coaching job during the offseason. We’ll find out if the rivalry is truly back when the Patriots host the Colts (1-3) tomorrow night on Thursday Night Football!

Here are some things to consider entering this Week 5 contest.

1. Will Jules’ return be the catalyst the Patriots’ offense needs?

The Patriots’ offense has had an up-and-down start to the 2018-19 season, as they were brilliant in Weeks 1 & 4, but were absolutely inept during Weeks 2 & 3. All things considered, I truly believe that Week 4 against the Dolphins was a step in the right direction for the Patriots, as they were able to establish a consistent running game, and also got solid contributions from their wide receivers (including new addition Josh Gordon). 

This week may be even better for the Pats, as they welcome back Julian Edelman, who was serving a 4-game suspension due to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Ironically enough, the last time the Patriots had Edelman in action for a meaningful game was during their historic comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Most analysts believe that Edelman’s return to the lineup will help relieve pressure off of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. This will definitely be the case, as Edelman has the skillset required to shake off opposing cornerbacks and get open across the middle of the field. #11 will definitely draw attention from the defense, which will be useful for Gronk and can help to make life easier for the Patriots’ other receivers. Throw Josh Gordon into the mix, and it’s hard not to be excited!

jules v colts .jpg
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

2. Stopping Captain Luck and his army!

For those who don’t understand why I’m calling Andrew Luck ‘captain’, allow me to enlighten you. For the past 3 years, there has been a Twitter account known as @CaptAndrewLuck, which imagines Luck as a Civil War general (due to his infamous neckbeard). The account usually tweets about Luck and the Colts’ matchups against other teams, using terms usually associated with battles (in the form of a letter to his mother). Check out his tweet about the Patriots from Monday.

Getting back to the game, Luck has been impressive in his return from injury, as he has done his best to lead the Colts to victory, even though he has been let down by his offensive line and coaching staff. Luckily enough for the Patriots, Luck will be playing without his top target in T.Y. Hilton who got injured during the Colts’ Week 4 loss to the Texans. 

Both teams will likely be using tape from the Patriots’ loss to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII, as Indy’s current coach, Frank Reich was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator at the time. Reich crafted a brilliant game plan that absolutely dissected the Patriots’ defense, and enabled the Eagles to earn their first Lombardi Trophy. Hopefully, Bill Belichick & Co. will be ready this time around to face a Reich-coached offense.

andrew luck v pats .jpg
(Photo by Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports)

3. Injury Report

Patriots

  • Rob Gronkowski (ankle) – Questionable
  • Jacob Hollister (chest) – Questionable
  • Josh Gordon (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Eric Rowe (groin) – Questionable
  • Elandon Roberts (calf) – Questionable
  • Geneo Grissom (ankle) – Questionable
  • Adam Butler (knee) – Questionable
  • Danny Shelton (elbow) – Questionable

Colts

  • T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring) – Out
  • Jack Doyle (hip) – Out
  • Marlon Mack (hamstring) – Out
  • Kenny Moore (concussion) – Out
  • Quincy Wilson (concussion) – Out
  • Hassan Ridgeway (calf) – Out

 

Bonus: Color Rush is back!

The Patriots will don their absolutely gorgeous Color Rush uniforms against Indy. Shouldn’t they just switch to these full time?

tb cr.jpg
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

PredictionPatriots 35, Colts 17

 

Here are my predictions for the rest of the NFL’s Week 5 contests.

Last week: 10-4

Titans at BillsTitans

Falcons at SteelersFalcons

Broncos at JetsBroncos

Jaguars at ChiefsChiefs

Packers at LionsPackers

Ravens at Browns: Ravens

Giants at PanthersPanthers

Dolphins at BengalsBengals

Raiders at ChargersChargers

Cardinals at 49ersCardinals

Vikings at EaglesVikings

Rams at SeahawksRams

Cowboys at Texans: Cowboys

Redskins at SaintsSaints