By: Christine Roy
The Patriots’ game on Sunday was a story of missed opportunities and an unexpected performance by a rookie quarterback. There are two halves to every game and unfortunately for the Patriots, that didn’t work out in their favor this week. After scoring 17 points in the first half, the tough Seattle defense held them to just six points in the second. The Patriots struggled in the red zone while Russell Wilson showed he has the arm strength and the poise to lead his team to a comeback victory.
Tom Brady on the other hand had a difficult time. He threw two interceptions and got called for intentional grounding twice. Those penalties, in addition to four more, cost the Patriots 80 yards and the calls on Brady happened at crucial points in the game. The first one came as they were driving for a score to end the first half. Had the offense been more effective this would have locked in a 14 point lead heading into halftime. Instead the offense was stalled with two incomplete passes and a 10 second runoff due to the intentional grounding penalty. The second penalty came in the fourth quarter with the Patriots holding a six point lead. The offense was once again finding it difficult to get to the first down marker. On second down and 10 Brady got the penalty which forced a third down and 20, which they would not make. Luckily the defense came on the field and forced the Seahawks to punt and gave the offense just over three minutes to close out the game. All they needed to do was get a few first downs and run out the clock.
Another big day for Wes Welker but the offense stalled in Seattle. (FILE:USPresswire)
Unfortunately the offense wasn’t able to execute when it counted. Brady seemed to struggle with the wet conditions and was throwing a lot of low passes. But that doesn’t mean the effort wasn’t there. Wes Welker did his part and took some serious hits in the process. He ended the day with 10 receptions for 138 yards and one touchdown. Brandon Lloyd worked the sidelines again with six receptions for 80 yards while Danny Woodhead proved to be Mr. Third Down and was one of the more relied upon running backs after Brandon Bolden left the game. Stevan Ridley got a taste of reality in Seattle as he was held to 16 carries for 34 yards. This week the balance we’ve become accustomed to went by the wayside. Brady threw 58 passes and the team’s 388 passing yards far outpaced their 87 rushing yards. When the clock mattered and the offense entered the red zone, they couldn’t turn opportunities into points. They froze in the red zone with just one touchdown and were unable to capitalize on a Seattle turnover to get seven points. At the end of the game, even just grabbing one more first down could have been the difference maker.
When it came to the defense, tackling was a big issue. They seemed to revert back a little bit this week as Wilson slipped out of the grasps of linebackers one too many times. When he got outside of the pocket he was dangerous both with his arm and his speed. He commanded his offense and had all the confidence with successful long ball shots to Golden Tate and Sidney Rice. The Patriots secondary let the receivers get behind them and that should never happen. Once again pass interference was a big problem and gave the Seahawks every chance to succeed. Something needs to be done with this secondary because every week it is the same thing, either the scheme needs to change or the coaching needs to change because it’s becoming a habit and other teams in the league are definitely taking notice.
Overall this was not the Patriots best showing. As Bill Belichick would say, they were outcoached, outplayed and outdone. The Seahawks were not going to sit by idly while the Patriots played. They took advantage of every opportunity and ended up on top. The lesson learned is make the most of each set of downs and play smarter football.
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