It was a solid win for the Patriots on Sunday when they took down the Tennessee Titans 34-13. Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns while Stevan Ridley absolutely dominated the run game with 21 carries for 125 yards. From the looks of it, it seems as though Josh McDaniels is making some serious changes with the offense.
Stevan Ridley brought back the Patriots run game with an impressive performance.(FILE:USPresswire)
Brady targeted six different receivers in the game which made it a difficult afternoon for the Titans secondary. They had their hands full with Rob Gronkowski who, to nobody’s surprise, found himself under a lot of double coverage. But when that happens, somebody is undoubtedly left open. Aaron Hernandez’s touchdown in the first quarter was due to a great route and the fact that Gronk was doubled up. Brady could have been sharper, throwing a few passes at the feet of receivers, but the rest of the team stepped up. Last year when Brady was off, the whole system was shut down.
This year things are looking up and that is because of Ridley. It is amazing how much more effective a passing game is when it is balanced by a serious ground attack. Ridley had quick feet, good cuts and really showed his toughness. A run game makes a team tough. The Patriots are finally back to the days when they can run out a game clock by picking up first downs on the ground. It’s only week one but so far, the run game seems to be a serious factor in this Patriots offense. Bill Belichick likes to play a balanced game and today was a great start. 162 rushing yards and 228 passing yards looks okay to me.
Looking at the Titans running game as a comparison, they had 20 total rushing yards with Chris Johnson carrying the ball 11 times for just four yards. He is coming off the worst season of his career (262 carries for 1,047 yards and 4 TD) and I can assure you he was not expecting to start off the season with a performance like this. The reason why he was so ineffective was the Patriots front seven. Talk about a new look, this is a remarkably different team than we saw last year. Vince Wilfork continues to be impressive and rookies Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones filled in seamlessly. The duo were quick to the ball and Jones showed some serious potential to be a pass rush threat. His size and speed are going to be a big asset to him as he gets more comfortable in the NFL. As for Hightower, he fits in perfectly with Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hightower outperforms Spikes this season.
The numbers on defense were very uplifting. Mayo had 13 tackles, while Jones forced a fumble that Hightower recovered for a touchdown. Rookie Tavon Wilson was also impressive with four tackles. The only thing that looked the same on defense was the secondary. I am still unimpressed with the lack of speed from Kyle Arrington and I wish Devin McCourty would turn around and see the ball after getting away with what should have been a pass interference penalty on Sunday.
Going forward this team looks poised for success. Week one had a lot of good, but there is still work to be done. This offense is going to be exciting and McDaniels definitely seems to have some tricks up his sleeve. As for the defense, let’s keep an eye on the front seven and see if the secondary can stop having some games where they make opposing quarterbacks look like superstars.