The Patriots overcome a sluggish start to crush the Redskins!

TEAM

1

2

3

4

T

WAS 7 0 0 0 7

NE

6 6 14 7 33

Early on in today’s game against the Washington Redskins (0-5), the Patriots found themselves behind 7-0, which was the first time they trailed in a game so far this season. The Pats responded by scoring 33 unanswered points, en route to a 33-7 victory which improved them to 5-0 on the season.

Here are some takeaways from this Week 5 victory.

1. The defense continues to dominate!

On Washington’s second drive, Steven Sims outran most of the Patriots’ defense on his way to a 65-yard touchdown which gave the Redskins their only lead of the game. Following that play, the Patriots were able to completely neutralize Washington’s offense, as they held Colt McCoy to 119 passing yards, and forced 2 turnovers (1 interception and 1 fumble). Other than Sims’ big run, the Redskins were held to 80 rushing yards, with Wendell Smallwood accounting for the brunt of it. The Pats were able to make McCoy uncomfortable all game long, as they sacked him 6 times, and also accumulated 8 QB hits.

Although the Redskins were definitely an inferior opponent, the dominance of the Patriots’ defense cannot be questioned, as they once again held an opponent to single digits, and gave up only 220 total yards of offense.

pats secondary v redskins w519.jpg
(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

2. Great rebound by the offense!

The Patriots’ offense was sluggish in the first half, as they were held to 9 points, with several of their drives ending with punts due to the inability of the offensive line to protect Tom Brady, who was sacked 4 times and hit an additional 9 times. As the second half started, Brady and the offense were able to dissect Washington’s defense with ease, and he ultimately finished with 348 passing yards, to go along with 3 touchdowns and an interception. Julian Edelman (8 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown) and Josh Gordon (5 receptions for 59 yards) were Brady’s top targets throughout today’s game. Unfortunately, the Pats lost Phillip Dorsett to a hamstring injury, which makes it interesting to see if Bill Belichick and the front office will consider adding another receiver to an increasingly thinning receiving corps.

Even though Brady and the passing game were remarkable, the most encouraging aspect of today’s victory was Sony Michel finally having his breakout game. Michel finished with 16 carries for 91 rushing yards and a touchdown, and was helped out by rookie fullback Jakob Johnson, who was able to effectively clear lanes for him. Michel had been struggling prior to today’s game, so any sort of success should hopefully give him confidence as the season moves along.

Even though the Redskins’ defense didn’t challenge the Patriots down the stretch, it was impressive to see the Pats overcome their anemic start and finally meet their potential on offense after two uneven performances.

jules v redskins w519.jpg
(Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Statistical Leaders:

Patriots

  • Passing: Tom Brady – 28/42 for 348 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception
  • Rushing: Sony Michel – 16 carries for 91 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: Julian Edelman – 8 receptions for 110 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Defensive: Dont’a Hightower – 8 tackles (including 1.5 sacks)

Redskins

  • Passing: Colt McCoy – 18/27 for 119 yards and 1 interception
  • Rushing: Steven Sims – 1 carry for 65 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: Terry McLaurin – 3 receptions for 51 yards
  • Defensive: Cole Holcomb – 10 tackles

 

What’s next?: The Pats have a short week as they welcome Daniel Jones and the New York Giants (2-3) to Foxborough for a matchup on Thursday Night Football.

Capital Matchup: Will the Pats add to Washington’s misery?

Week 5 presents an unusual matchup for the Patriots, as they head down to Washington D.C. to play the winless Washington Redskins (0-4) for the first time in four years.

Here are some things to consider entering this game.

1. Will the defense continue to dominate?

The Patriots’ defense has been on a tear over the last four weeks, as they’ve only given up 13 points, and lead the NFL in both sacks and interceptions. Tomorrow’s game looks to be an easier assignment for the Pats, as Washington was inept on offense against a mediocre Giants defense during their Week 4 loss in the Meadowlands. In addition, head coach Jay Gruden has opted to go with Colt McCoy at quarterback (instead of Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins), who will be seeing his first action since breaking his leg last season. It’s reasonable to expect McCoy to have some rust, which could lead to turnovers as a result of errant throws. The Redskins will be playing without two of their top weapons in Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed, while their top receiver, Terry McLaurin is listed as questionable. Washington’s rushing attack is also banged up, as Derrius Guice is still recovering from a knee injury, which will likely thrust the ageless Adrian Peterson into the starting role once again.

The Pats will be without Patrick Chung in the secondary, but if they continue to play their brand of defense, it won’t be too hard for them to overwhelm Washington’s offense.

NFL: Washington Redskins at New England Patriots
(Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

2. Can the offense rebound from last week?

As most people know, last week featured an atrocious offensive performance for the Patriots, as they were neutralized by a physical Buffalo defense. Luckily for Tom Brady & Co., this week may serve as an antidote to help solve their problems, as Washington currently has one of the NFL’s worst defenses. The Redskins rank fifth-worst in yards allowed, second-worst in points allowed, and fourth-worst in stopping the run. These stats indicate that the Patriots should blowout Washington, but I believe that fortifying the offensive line will be the catalyst for any sort of success on offense. Having a strong offensive line will provide Brady with time to survey the field, and also enable Sony Michel to run the ball effectively.

The Patriots have dealt with a lot of upheaval on the offense over the last few weeks, but dominating a downtrodden team like the Redskins will prove to the rest of the league that they’re still capable of being an elite offensive unit.

jules vs redskins w5p19.jpg
(Photo via Getty Images)

3. What will the kicking game look like?

One of the major headlines for the team over the last week was Stephen Gostkowski being added to the injured reserve due to a season-ending hip injury. After working out a few kickers, the Patriots signed veteran Mike Nugent to the active roster, while also adding Younghoe Koo to the practice squad. The Pats have generally had consistency at this position over the last twenty years due to the presence of Gostkowski and his predecessor Adam Vinatieri, which makes an abrupt change alarming for fans. It will be interesting to see how much faith Bill Belichick and the coaching staff have in Nugent, due to the presence of Koo on the practice squad. In addition, if Nugent struggles, would the Pats opt to go for two after scoring touchdowns?

The loss of Stephen Gostkowski will make kicker a position to watch as the season goes along.

pats new kickers.jpeg
(Nick O’Malley/MassLive)

Injury Report:

Patriots

  • Rex Burkhead (foot) – Out
  • Patrick Chung (heel) – Out
  • Nate Ebner (groin) – Questionable
  • Julian Edelman – Questionable
  • Dont’a Hightower (shoulder) – Questionable

Redskins

  • Vernon Davis (concussion) – Out
  • Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring) – Out
  • Jordan Reed (concussion) – Out
  • Brandon Scherff (ankle) – Out
  • Case Keenum (foot) – Questionable
  • Terry McLaurin (hamstring) – Questionable
  • Josh Norman (knee) – Questionable
  • Chase Roullier (not listed) – Questionable

 

Prediction: Patriots 30, Redskins 13

Here are my picks for the NFL’s other Week 5 games (except for Thursday Night Football)

Last week: 8-6

Jets at Eagles: Eagles

Jaguars at Panthers: Jaguars

Vikings at Giants: Vikings

Falcons at Texans: Texans

Buccaneers at Saints: Saints

Bills at Titans: Titans

Cardinals at Bengals: Cardinals

Ravens at Steelers: Ravens

Bears at Raiders: Bears

Broncos at Chargers: Chargers

Packers at Cowboys: Cowboys

Colts at Chiefs: Chiefs

Browns at 49ers: Browns