Another Classic!: Seattle edges the Pats on SNF

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Seattle. New England. Sunday Night Football.

When you put these words together, you’re bound to get one hell of a football game, and yesterday was no exception. For the third straight matchup between these teams, the game came down to a goal line stand by the victorious team, with Seattle securing a 35-30 victory. This loss drops the Patriots to 1-1 and second place in the AFC East behind the Buffalo Bills.

Here are my takeaways from this Week 2 game.

1. Cam & Jules came to play!
After lighting up the Dolphins on the ground in Week 1, many people wondered how Cam Newton & the Patriots would look when #1 was tasked with beating defenses with his arm. Newton delivered yesterday, as he threw for 397 yards, and almost led the Patriots to a dramatic fourth quarter comeback. Newton primarily connected with Julian Edelman, who totaled 179 receiving yards on a career night. For the first time in multiple seasons, Edelman was a deep threat, with several clutch catches against star safety Jamal Adams, including a 49 yard reception to spark a scoring drive in the fourth quarter. However, Edelman was visibly exhausted and dinged up near the end of the game, which is a situation worth monitoring as the season progresses. Other than Edelman, Damiere Byrd & N’Keal Harry both stepped up, as they both recorded 72 receiving yards. It was great to see Byrd step up after being held without a catch in Week 1, but Harry’s game was even more encouraging, as he made some tough contested catches, including a 4th down play in the first quarter, when he got hit illegally by a Seattle defender. Cam Newton has expressed confidence in Harry, and performances like this will only help expand his role in the offense.

The Patriots’ rushing attack was primarily run through Newton, as both Sony Michel & Rex Burkhead struggled to gain any traction. Newton recorded 2 rushing touchdowns on his now-signature goal line draw play, but it’s starting to look like that play may be becoming predictable for opposing defenses. This was evident on a failed two-point conversion in the fourth quarter, when Jamal Adams dispatched him through a gap in the offensive line. In addition, on the game’s last play, the Patriots opted to use that play again, which resulted in Newton getting knocked down a few yards short of the goal line. I’m not going to question Josh McDaniels’ decision making, as the play could have worked with better blocking, but an option play, or play-action pass in that situation could have helped the Patriots win the game.

To sum up New England’s offensive performance, it’s safe to say that Cam Newton was otherworldly (apart from a bad interception in the third quarter), as his dynamic playmaking made the offense look explosive for the first time in a long time. Almost beating one of the NFL’s best teams in a shootout on the road is an encouraging sign for the second showing of an evolving offense. As Newton & the skill players continue to become more comfortable with each other, the offense will only continue to get better.

Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams (33) closes in on a sack of New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

2. Russ & the Seahawks’ offense cooked the Pats

The Patriots’ secondary was thought to be the team’s strongest position group, but they got absolutely annihilated by one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in Russell Wilson, who threw for 5 touchdowns. Wilson only had 1 mistake the whole game, when a pass went through Greg Olsen’s hands, and was caught by Devin McCourty, who returned it for a 43 yard touchdown. Things went downhill from there, as Wilson targeted key members of the secondary, including Jonathan Jones & Stephon Gilmore, with both players giving up touchdowns. Typically, the Patriots stick to tight man-to-man coverage, but with Wilson’s elusiveness out of the pocket, they chose to use zone coverage, which didn’t really work out in their favor. The Patriots were able to sack Wilson twice, but they struggled to keep up with him, as he also gained 39 yards on the ground.

Seattle also had great success running the ball, with Chris Carson accounting for 72 of the team’s 154 rushing yards. The Patriots struggled to win at the line of scrimmage, which should be an area of emphasis for Bill Belichick as the season progresses. Luckily for them, Seattle opted to pass the ball on a crucial 3rd & 1 near the end of the game, which ended up with an incompletion, and gave the Patriots a chance to win the game.

Bill Belichick will likely be ruthless in his evaluation of this game, as his defense was routinely beaten by a blistering air attack, which is something that cannot continue as New England begins to play teams with high-flying offenses.

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(Photo via the Seattle Seahawks)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

  • Passing: Cam Newton – 30/44 for 397 yards, 1 touchdown & 1 interception
  • Rushing: Cam Newton – 11 carries for 47 yards & 2 touchdowns
  • Receiving: Julian Edelman – 8 receptions for 179 yards
  • Defensive: John Simon – 8 total tackles

Seahawks

  • Passing: Russell Wilson – 21/28 for 288 yards, 5 touchdowns & 1 interception
  • Rushing: 17 carries for 72 yards
  • Receiving: DK Metcalf – 4 receptions for 92 yards
  • Defensive: Jamal Adams – 10 total tackles, including 1 sack

Bonus:

1. RIP Tyrone White

James White was inactive last night, due to the tragic death of his father, who perished in a car accident. White’s mother is also in critical condition.

Tributes for White poured into social media, and Devin McCourty chose to shout out his teammate after his pick-six in the first quarter.

2. New away uniforms

Yesterday’s game marked the debut of the Patriots’ new away uniforms, which are a marked improvement over the previous set. Hopefully they’ll be more lucky the next time they wear them!

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(Abbie Parr/Getty Images

What’s next?: The Patriots return home to host the Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) for their first matchup since the 2017 season.

The Pats suffer their first loss of the season in Baltimore!

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The Patriots’ bid for yet another undefeated season ended last night, as they were defeated 37-20 by Lamar Jackson and the Ravens (6-2). The Patriots were uneven on both sides of the ball, and fell behind early, with a couple second-half turnovers putting the game out of reach. This loss drops the Pats to 8-1 on the season, and reduces their lead in the AFC to 1.5 games.

Here are some takeaways from yesterday’s game.

1. The Patriots’ defense finally had a dud

I’m not going to be a reactionary person, and say that the Patriots’ defense got “exposed” last night, because I don’t think that it gives the Ravens’ offense the credit they deserve. Bill Belichick’s unit is still an elite defense, but Baltimore’s offense was simply better last night, as they were able to out-scheme the Patriots, and win the game due to their power rushing attack. After giving up only 27 points in their last 3 games, the Patriots were gashed by Baltimore for 4 touchdowns. Mark Ingram (15 carries for 115 yards) and Lamar Jackson (16 carries for 61 yards and 2 touchdowns) combined to form a potent rushing attack that accounted for the brunt of Baltimore’s 210 rushing yards. The Ravens’ offensive line was excellent throughout the game, as they effectively cleared lanes for their rushers to run through. This performance (coupled with what Cleveland did to the Patriots in Week 8) may serve as a blueprint for opponents to attack New England down the stretch.

The Patriots’ secondary had a good performance, as they limited Jackson to 163 passing yards, and didn’t allow any receivers to eclipse 50 yards, but they could not force stops in the game’s crucial moments. Jackson is simply a superior athlete, and his agility and maneuverability were on full display last night, as he navigated the pocket with ease, with the Pats only sacking him once and hitting him thrice.

At the same time, the Pats’ defense was able to give the team a crucial spark when they forced Ingram to fumble inside Baltimore’s 20, which led to points for the Patriots’ offense. As most analysts noted, a lot of the Patriots’ struggles last night can be fixed with coaching, as they made unusual mental errors such as penalties that extended Baltimore’s drives and dampened their chances of winning.

These tweets by reporters sum up why we shouldn’t be overreacting to one bad performance by the Patriots’ defense.

This game was definitely a wake up call for the Patriots’ defense, and I am sure that Bill Belichick will be working on ways to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

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(Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

2. Good offensive performance that was marred by turnovers

The Patriots’ offense started off yesterday’s game very slow, which quickly resulted in a 17-0 deficit that appeared to spell an imminent rout by Baltimore. The Ravens were ultimately able to run away with the game, but it is not fair to say that the Patriots’ offense had a bad performance. Following two recovered fumbles by special teams and the defense, Tom Brady and the offense were able to cut their deficit to 7 points. They were able to move the ball down the field with ease when they quickened their pace, which made it harder for Baltimore to get into blitz packages or make effective substitutions. It was heavily encouraging to see Mohamed Sanu get involved early and often, as he totaled 8 receptions for 81 yards, and scored a touchdown. Sanu has clearly built some chemistry with Brady, which is something the team will have to improve upon as the season progresses. Julian Edelman was his normal self, as he had 10 receptions for 89 yards, and was a matchup problem for Baltimore’s corners throughout the game.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to forget what Edelman and Sanu accomplished last night, due to their involvement in the two turnovers that sealed the game for the Ravens. During the opening drive of the second half, the Patriots were down 17-13, and appeared to be driving to take the lead when Edelman caught a pass from Brady, ducked a tackle and fought for more yardage, when Baltimore forced a fumble that was recovered by Marlon Humphrey for a 70 yard touchdown. The Patriots were able to score a touchdown on their next drive, which cut the lead to 4 once again. Later on in the fourth quarter, and trailing 30-20, New England attempted to mount a comeback when Brady uncorked a deep ball to Sanu that was intercepted by Earl Thomas and returned for 24 yards. Observers noted that Sanu didn’t appear to be fully committed to the route, and didn’t chase after Thomas at full speed, which enabled him to give the Ravens’ offense great field position.

Despite certain “experts” in the media claiming that this game proved why the Pats are declining, I believe that there are several positives for Josh McDaniels to build off of, as the offense becomes more whole over the next few weeks (with the imminent returns of N’Keal Harry and Isaiah Wynn to the lineup).

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(Photo via the Boston Globe)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

  • Passing: Tom Brady- 30/46 for 285 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception
  • Rushing: James White – 9 carries for 38 yards, and 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: Julian Edelman – 10 receptions for 89 yards
  • Defensive: Dont’a Hightower – 13 total tackles

Ravens

  • Passing: Lamar Jackson – 17/23 for 163 yards, and 1 touchdown
  • Rushing: Mark Ingram II – 15 carries for 115 yards
  • Receiving: Marquise Brown – 3 receptions for 48 yards
  • Defensive: Marcus Peters – 8 total tackles

 

What’s next?: The Patriots have their bye week in Week 10, which should give them plenty of time to fix the errors from this game, and plan ahead for Week 10’s bout with the Philadelphia Eagles (5-4).

Music City Blues!: Pats get pounded by the Titans

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The Patriots’ 6-game winning streak was snapped today in Nashville, as they were routed 34-10 by the Tennessee Titans (5-4). The Pats fall to 7-3, which increases the gap between them and the AFC leading Kansas City Chiefs (9-1). Tennessee was able to outplay the Patriots in all 3 phases of the game.

Here are some takeaways from today’s loss.

1. Tennessee’s defense dominated the Brady Bunch

The Titans entered this game as the NFL’s top scoring defense, and they did not disappoint, as they limited the Patriots to a season low 10 points. Mike Vrabel and Dean Pees were able to craft a game plan to get after Tom Brady and constantly disrupt his mechanics and timing. Tennessee halted any momentum the Pats’ offensive line had had prior to today, as they were able to frequently penetrate through the middle and stifle the offense.

Julian Edelman was one of the sole bright spots for the offense, as he corralled 9 catches for 104 yards and was frequently a security blanket for Brady. Unfortunately, Edelman took a beating throughout the game, and left the game in the fourth quarter due to an ankle injury. Josh Gordon had 4 catches for 81 yards, but a finger injury suffered last week definitely affected his ability to catch, as he dropped a key pass in the first half that halted a drive that could have allowed the Patriots to tie the game early on. The rushing game was utterly non-existent for the Pats, as Sony Michel had only 31 yards (off 11 carries) in his return from injury.

The Pats need to reevaluate their offensive game plan to ensure their success as the season progresses.

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(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

2. The defense got overwhelmed

Marcus Mariota had his best game of the season as he had 228 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mariota and Corey Davis (7 receptions for 125 yards and 1 touchdown) combined to make life miserable for the Patriots, as they were able to efficiently stretch the field at will. Following a series of remarkable performances, Stephon Gilmore had a clunker today, as he was frequently beat by Davis, and committed a few penalties.

The defense was not much better at stopping the run, as they gave up 150 yards, with Derrick Henry (11 carries for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Dion Lewis (20 carries for 57 yards) leading the way for Tennessee.

It was disappointing to see the Pats take a step back on defense, but I have faith in their ability to bounce back from this.

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(Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

3. Special teams was dreadful as well

Special teams was a disaster for the Patriots, as big kickoff returns and punt returns enabled the Titans to start drives with great field position. For example, the Titans opened the game with a 58-yard kickoff return on their way to a opening drive touchdown. At one point in the game, the Titans’ average starting field position was at the Pats’ 42 yard line, while the Pats started at their own 24.

Games such as the Pats’ Week 7 win at Chicago can show the impact of a great performance on special teams.

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(Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

4. Inability to beat teams with familiar faces

2 of the Patriots’ losses this year have been at teams coached by ex-Patriots ( Week 3 at Detroit and today against Tennessee). Both games were similar, as Brady got constantly hounded, while the defense could not stop the pass or run. It appears as if Matt Patricia and Mike Vrabel are very familiar with the chinks in the Pats’ armor.

This factor makes today’s loss less concerning, even though the Pats definitely have their work cut out for them.

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(Photo via the AP)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

  • Passing: Tom Brady – 21/41 for 254 yards
  • Rushing: Sony Michel – 11 carries for 31 yards
  • Receiving: Julian Edelman – 9 catches for 104 yards
  • Defense: Kyle Van Noy – 13 tackles

Titans

  • Passing: 16/24 for 228 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Rushing: Derrick Henry – 11 carries for 58 yards
  • Receiving: Corey Davis – 7 catches for 125 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Defense: Wesley Woodyard – 10 tackles (including 1.5 sacks)

 

What’s next?: The Pats head into their much needed bye week before heading to New York to face the hated Jets (3-7) on November 25th during Week 12.

Shocker in the Motor City!

 

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Yesterday was one of the most bizarre NFL Sundays in recent memory, as several high-profile teams including the Vikings, Packers, and Jaguars succumbed to substantially weaker opponents. Unfortunately, our very own Patriots suffered the same fate, as they played atrociously in a 26-10 loss to the previously winless Lions.

Here are some takeaways from yesterday’s loss.

1. Tom Brady looked human 

Tom Brady was not his usual self last night, as he only threw for 133 yards (which was his lowest since a 2014 contest against the Bills, in which he only played the first half), and a touchdown, to go along with one interception. It’s possible to attribute his off-night to Detroit coach Matt Patricia’s familiarity with the Pats’ offense, and the inability of his receivers to get open, but Brady still wasn’t very efficient when he had opportunities. For example, with the Pats trailing by 13 with more than 7 minutes remaining in the game, Brady unnecessarily heaved a deep pass down the middle, which resulted in an interception by Detroit’s Darius Slay and ended the Patriots’ chances at a comeback. This was reminiscent of the ending of last week’s game against the Jaguars, when Brady fumbled late in the fourth quarter, which sealed the deal for Jacksonville. To be successful as the season progresses, the Patriots will need Brady to step up his game.

New England Patriots v Detroit Lions
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

2. The offense needs help

As mentioned earlier, the Patriots’ wide receivers, along with Rob Gronkowski struggled mightily against the Lions’ defense, which was a surprise for me to see, as I thought that they would have success against Detroit’s defenders (as mentioned in my preview for the game). For opposing defenses, the game plan to counter the Patriots has become quite simple, because all they need to do is double Gronk, and they’ll probably experience varying levels of success. The Patriots’ stable of running backs was not very efficient either, with Sony Michel serving as the feature back and James White & Rex Burkhead contributing as well. White easily had the best performance of the three, as he had the team’s sole touchdown. The Pats will need to be cautious with Burkhead as the season progresses, as he suffered a neck injury just 2 weeks after suffering a concussion.

Josh Gordon’s debut as a Patriot and Julian Edelman’s return from suspension cannot come soon enough. 

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(Photo via AP)

3. The defense looked slow

The Pats’ defense continued their downward spiral against the Lions, as they could not stop either Matthew Stafford or Kerryon Johnson (who became the first Lion to rush for over a 100 yards since 2013). The pass rush was non-existent for the entirety of the game, which gave Stafford time to dissect the secondary. It was also extremely disturbing to see the utter lack of lateral speed for the Patriots’ defense, as key players such as Dont’a Hightower seemed to just be a step behind as they chased after the explosive Lions. It may be easy to dismiss this game as your typical Patriots September, but if the defense continues to play like this, the Patriots won’t get far this season.

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(Photo via AP)

What’s nextThe Patriots host the division leading Miami Dolphins (3-0) in an absolute must-win.

 

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

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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.

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(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)

Philly snatches the Lombardi from the Patriots in Super Bowl LII

The Patriots lost a heartbreaking contest against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, as they fell short with a 41-33 loss. The Patriots’ bid to win back-to-back Super Bowls was thwarted by a brilliant performance from Nick Foles, and a game-changing strip sack of Tom Brady with just over 2 minutes to play.

Here are a few takeaways from yesterday’s game.

1. How much more can Tom Brady do?

Tom Brady had a excellent performance against the Eagles, as he threw for over 500 yards (a new Super Bowl record) to go along with 3 touchdowns. Brady was able to dissect the formidable Eagles defense, allowing the Patriots to stay in the game. However, two plays are going to define Brady’s performance in this Super Bowl. Early in the first half, the Patriots opted to try some trickery, as Danny Amendola lofted the ball to TB12, who was unable to corral it on third down. This led to the Pats going for it on fourth down, and giving the ball back to Philadelphia.

The play of the game came with just over 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Pats had just surrendered a touchdown, giving Brady the ball back with a chance to win the game. Brady calmly completed his first pass getting the Pats the 38-yard-line. It appeared as if Brady was going to work his magic again, and win his sixth ring in the process. However, on the next play, Brandon Graham got after his fellow Michigan alum, and forced a fumble that his teammates were able to recover. The fumble gave Philly great field position to milk the clock and extend their lead.

Brady was let down by both his defense and his offensive line, as he had to constantly play from behind, and deal with constant pressure at the same time. He was only sacked one time, but it happened at the worst possible time.

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(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

2. The Patriots’ receivers came up big

Tom Brady and his weapons kept up their end of the bargain throughout the game, with Rob Gronkowksi, Danny Amendola, and Chris Hogan having monster games. Amendola had 8 catches for 152 yards, Hogan had 6 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown, while Gronk had 9 catches for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns. It is really disheartening to see such great performances in a loss, but at the same time, you can never say that the Patriots didn’t do their absolute best to claw their way back into this game.

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(Photo by Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

3. The Patriots’ defense was terrible

The Patriots’ defense picked the worst time possible to have their worst performance of the year, as they were thoroughly ripped apart by Nick Foles and the Eagles’ offense. They could not get off the field on third down, and also gave up two critical fourth down conversions, with one of them coming on Philly’s side of the field on their game-winning drive. They only forced one point and couldn’t sack Foles.

Other than Stephon Gilmore, the Pats’ secondary struggled heavily, with Eric Rowe giving up several long plays, including a 34-yard touchdown to Alshon Jeffery, and Devin McCourty not being able to cover Zach Ertz on both a crucial fourth down conversion and the game-winning touchdown. The most puzzling aspect of the game was that Matt Patricia opened up the game with Rowe covering Jeffery, which was a matchup that the Eagles exploited on several occasions. Moving Gilmore onto Jeffery earlier would have limited the damage in the first half.

Another mystery of the game was that Malcolm Butler didn’t play a single defensive snap, with Rowe replacing him as a starter. No one knows why Butler was benched, and the Patriots were very cryptic with their responses to the question. However, two things are very clear about Butler’s situation. Having Butler in the lineup would have definitely helped the secondary, and this was probably the last time we saw the Super Bowl XLIX hero in a Patriots uniform.

The Patriots’ bizarre game plan on defense, and their inability to stop the Eagles during crucial situations clearly cost them the game, and also wasted a historic performance by the Patriots’ offense.

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(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

4. Special team woes hurt the Patriots

It was also a rough night for the Patriots’ special teams unit, as several miscues cost the Patriots points that would have been useful towards the ending of the game. With the Patriots trailing 9-3 in the second quarter, they opted to go for a field goal on 4th & 1 from the Eagles’ 8-yard-line, but their efforts were derailed when long snapper Joe Cardona had an errant snap. Stephen Gostkowski was still able to rush the kick, but it hit the left uprights. Gostkowski also missed an extra point later on in the second quarter.

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(Photo by Tony Gutierrez/AP)

 

The slumbering Patriots falter in Miami

The Patriots were thoroughly outplayed by the Miami Dolphins on Monday night, losing their Week 14 contest 27-20. The loss snapped the Patriots’ 8 game winning streak, and their 14 game road game winning streak (which started in 2015). 

Here are some takeaways from yesterday’s game

1. The Dolphins’ defense made Tom Brady look like a 40-year old quarterback

TB12 has been remarkable so far this season, making several analysts wonder if he was playing his best football at age 40. Brady’s age was evident during last night’s loss, as he was unable to get away from Miami pass rushers in the pocket, and was heavily inaccurate on several throws (two throws to Brandin Cooks resulted in his two interceptions). He was also evidently uncomfortable in the pocket. After yesterday’s game, Brady’s record in Miami stands at 7-9. Hopefully Brady will get things back on track before next week’s crucial matchup against the Steelers.

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(Photo by Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

2. The Patriots’ offense was absolutely dreadful

If you want an idea of how bad the Patriots played yesterday, just look at their performance in the first quarter, where they only recorded 2 yards of total offense. Miami was also able to neutralize the Patriots’ rushing attack, which had been gaining steam during the last few games, limiting the Pats to 10 carries for 25 yards. Rob Gronkowski’s absence was clearly felt, as the team was in a funk offensively. Danny Amendola was the only receiver who constantly got open, as he finished with 6 catches for 76 yards. In comparison, Brandin Cooks finished with 1 catch for 38 yards, while Chris Hogan had 1 catch for 1 yard. The Patriots offense also squandered several chances in the fourth quarter when they were down by 10 points. Scoring on at least one of those drives would have made their last-ditch effort at the end of the game much easier.

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(Photo by Joe Cavaretta / Sun Sentinel)

3. The banged-up Patriots’ defense couldn’t make enough plays

The Patriots’ defense played without two of their key contributors in Kyle Van Noy and Trey Flowers, and their absence was clearly felt last night. The Patriots could not stop Kenyan Drake who scorched them for 114 yards on the ground and 79 yards through the air. They also had no answer for Jarvis Landry, who scored 2 touchdowns. This loss cannot be fully placed on the defense, as they did their best to stop Miami, but they were constantly let down by the offense who could not stay on the field. Yesterday’s game was definitely a setback, as the Pats hadn’t allowed more than 17 points in over 2 months, but knowing Bill Belichick and his staff, their defensive issues will be resolved soon. 

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(Photo by Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY SPORTS)

 

To be honest, this loss couldn’t have come at a better time, as it will allow the Pats to correct their deficiencies in all phases, before they head to Pittsburgh for a matchup that will likely determine the road to Super Bowl LII.