Patriots Still Evolving in Overtime Win

Christine Roy
October 22, 2012 at 04:59am ET

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The Patriots we are witnessing are an evolving team. They are still trying to determine what type of offense they are and still working on being better in the secondary and on special teams. There have been some noticeable holes and scary moments this season and Sunday's game against the Jets was no different. The absence of Logan Mankins and the loss of Dan Connolly during the game were felt both in quarterback protection and in the run game. The secondary upgraded from pass interference calls to holding penalties but they still allowed Mark Sanchez to complete over 50% of his passes which he has only been able to do twice this season. There was a rare kickoff return on special teams but overall they have been ineffective for a long time.

Bill Belichick has a lot of work to do with this team. They've fallen into some bad habits but managed an overtime win against the Jets. (FILE:USPresswire)

The Patriots did not deserve to win this game. Tom Brady had to throw away too many balls and the connection with Brandon Lloyd was off to say the least. He was targeted eight times but could only come up with one reception for six yards. With the deep threat out, the tight ends were the stars, but they didn't have an easy time of it. Rob Gronkowski dropped a couple passes and had some balls thrown to him that he couldn't catch. His mobility seems to be limited by a hip injury and he isn't the same player we grew accustomed to last season. But that doesn't mean he won't be with time and a bye week to heal.

There's no doubt the offense performs better when Wes Welker is involved. He can move the chains and take some seriously brutal hits. It has clearly become part of the process to try to find other ways to move on offense outside of him. It takes a while for him to actually get involved in a game and that could easily be due to opposing defenses covering him. But suspicion will always lurk considering the Patriots have found ways to work around that before.

Defensively the line had a difficult time with the Jet's offensive line. Sanchez was sacked four times but there didn't seem to be much penetration. When they blitzed it created more pressure and as a team they need to incorporate that more. The linebacking core definitely limited the Jet's run game with Jerod Mayo at the forefront. He had 10 solo tackles and it was good to see him back in the game after what appeared to be a shoulder/arm injury. This group always steps up and it was Rob Ninkovich who ended up being the Patriots savior with the forced fumble in overtime.

They say patience is a virtue and that is what Patriots fans will need to have for at least one more week. Next week in London the Pats need to find a way to win and get into their bye week with a 5-3 record. They are working through a lot of changes both on the coaching and personnel sides of the ball. This was an ugly win and they can't back themselves into this type of situation again. The Patriots need to break the habit of a fourth quarter letdown and hopefully a trip across the pond can right this ship and set up a strong second half of the season.