Now, I know that this game happened three days ago, but I am still mad about this. A 16-0 shutout at Gillette Stadium? The first time the Patriots have been shutout at home since 1993? Scott Zolak played in that game. That’s how long ago that was.
Now let’s start from the top. The game plan was maddening. I know you have an injured rookie third-string quarterback making the start this week, but there has to be more done than what we witnessed. Between Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick, it was clear that there was no confidence in the health of Jacoby Brissett. If he was fully healthy, we would have seen a more balanced game plan and maybe some attempts to convert some third-downs. I understand you may not have known who the QB was until “right before the game”, but if you are one of the top coaches/coordinators in the league, there has to be something better than that.
Brissett did not play horrible with what he was asked to do. His best throw of the day, a deep pass into double coverage, hit Martellus Bennett in stride.
Other than that, he was forced to run misdirections, draws, and other gimmick run plays. His biggest miscue was the fumble in the red-zone. It is a lose-lose situation though, because if he had slid, fans would have been mad at him not going for the first-down. Now, him and Jimmy Garoppolo get the opportunity to heal behind Tom Brady, and hopefully, we won’t see them again this year.
The rest of the offense was nothing spectacular. There was conservative play-calling that resulted in a lot of three-and-outs. I need to see Rob Gronkowski play more next week. This hamstring has hampered his ability for too long. Also, why was he pass-blocking so often? If he is on the field in a passing situation, he should be running routes and scoring touchdowns. I understand if he’s not healthy, but if that’s the case, keep him out or use him to run-block.
Brandon Bolden’s drop at the end-zone was sickening. For some reason, the Patriots can’t seem to find a RB who can catch a deep-ball. With D.J. Foster lining up at WR in college, maybe it’s time to use him in these scenarios.
The offensive line was penalized a lot. Shaq Mason was the only one who didn’t receive a penalty. New England knows that, with Coach Scar, there will be a lot of work done throughout the week to improve on their weaknesses.
From the defensive side of the ball the biggest thing noticed was missed tackles. Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins both had trouble bringing down ball-carriers. I can understand with Hightower recovering from an injury, that he may have not felt comfortable with his knee yet, but they both need to be better.
Logan Ryan allowed precisely one billion receptions. This is extremely sad, because Buffalo really had no receivers in this game without Sammy Watkins. He needs to be better. I think his confidence took a shot in Arizona, and he has had trouble getting back into it. Maybe Malcolm Butler can coach him up a little bit.
If Cyrus Jones makes another mistake in the return game he shouldn’t appear on special teams. That was supposed to be the tie-breaker between him and the other cornerbacks in the draft, and we just aren’t seeing it from him. Fans at the game began to sarcastically cheer when Jones eventually decided to take a knee for a touchback.
Sad game for the Patriots. It almost seemed liked they didn’t try. This was very similar to the Miami game last year. In that game they just ran the ball and didn’t take any risks in the passing game. They may not need to make many adjustments next week against Cleveland, but if they want to compete with the best of the best in the NFL, changes need to be made. That could be just as simple as putting Brady and a healthy Gronk on the field at the same time.
Pray for Cleveland as they face the Patriots and the Red Sox this weekend.