REPORT CARD: Patriots Up to The Test on Sunday

Derek Havens
September 20, 2011 at 07:08pm ET

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The Patriots kicked off their home opener against the San Diego Chargers with a 35 – 21 victory. While the whole game wasn’t pretty, the Pats certainly did a lot of things right. Here is my report card for week 1 -

Offense Grade: A+

The Patriots offensive performance was incredible on last Monday in Miami and it did not disappoint on Sunday in Foxborough. Tom Brady was again the story of the day, throwing for 423 yards and tossing three touchdown passes. The running game did it's job, gaining positive yards and moving the chains. The offense has been incredibly efficient and only punted twice on Sunday. My one real concern moving forward is that the offense has no where to go, but down.

Tom Brady has been on a tear so far in the 2011 season and shows no sign of slowing down. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Defense Grade: B-

This was certainly the hardest area of the team to grade. On one side, the defense allowed the Chargers to go 10 - 12 on 3rd downs, after allowing Miami to only convert 2 - 14 in week one. But on the other hand, they held a very good Bolts offense to only 21 points and forced 4 turnovers throughout the game. I decided to grade the team somewhere in the middle and while the entire performance was not great, the team certainly improved in some areas. I expect to see both individual development and as a defensive unit over the next few weeks.

Special Teams Grade: A-

Stephen Gostkowski hit two field goals during the game, including a 47-yarder to end the first half. While I am disappointed with the Patriots return ability so far this year, their coverage has been spectacular.

Overall Game Grade: A -

Overall, I thought the Patriots played well. Not to mention the team is still settling into the regular season and not yet in mid-season form. I expect all three phases of the game to improve over the next few weeks, especially the defense. A win is always great to have, and it certainly feels great beating a quality team in San Diego. The Patriots have another tough test next week though, as they face the division foe Buffalo Bills on the road.

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