October 15, 2017 by squish
(Courtesy of Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Written by Ryan Delaney
Thursday night’s ugly game finally came to end with the Patriots getting a much needed win. With that being said, the win did not come easy and there are still a lot of things to improve upon.
This was the first time all season that they played a low scoring contest, and immediately you would think that the defense only allowing 14 points means they looked a lot better. I would definitely give them the benefit of the doubt for looking better, but that wasn’t very hard to do after the previous performances. It was the first time they’ve allowed less than 20 points this season, but they did still allow 400 total yards of offense, and they continue to allow some big plays at inopportune times, luckily it didn’t end up hurting them this time around.
The defense was bailed out by three missed field goals by Bucs kicker, Nick Folk, the former Jet, and also some poor communication and decision-making by Jameis Winston and his receivers late in the game. It came down to the very last play, but in the end, they got the job done and that’s really all we wanted. The offense, however, was a different story.
It’s no shock that the offense was going to take a step back after it was announced prior to game time that Rob Gronkowski was not going to play due to a thigh injury, but overall they moved the ball well. Most of their drives looked to have something going, but what killed them was penalties in opponent’s territory, and drives stalling out in the red zone.
They just barely won the time of possession battle with 30:50 for the game, but were a disappointing 4 of 12 on third down. This is where missing Gronk will be noticed the most as Brady can usually count on him to create separation when they’re in need of a third down conversion. Still this is no excuse for only being 33% on third, especially with all the other weapons that are now available on offense.
The team as a whole totaled 12 penalties for 108 yards, an ugly performance, and I know the defense had a couple big penalties late in the half that inflated that total, but overall that is still unacceptable. Yes, it was a short week, and it was coming off a hard-fought loss to a physical team, but we just need to be better, it’s just not enough. Not if we want to be serious contenders for a championship.
I know it’s still early and a lot of guys are banged up, this team is starting to remind me of the 2015 Patriots. On paper they look outstanding, but on the field it’s a different story. A team that isn’t built for the long haul, and that worries me. Mix that in with the similar question marks and unfamiliarity of the 2014 season and you get a very uneasy feeling here in New England as we approach the midway point.
Now, the good news is we have a lowly Jets team this Sunday on the road, and despite them being 3-2 on the season, I don’t see this to be much of a contest. They do have the same record as us, but their wins came against the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Browns, so they don’t have too much to be excited about. The Jets simply don’t have anywhere close to a competent offense and their defense has taken a significant drop from a season ago. I like the Patriots to run away with this one, and hopefully it’s over quick and early and we just prepare for a battle against the Falcons next Sunday.