By: Russ Goldman
After a successful home opener for the Patriots, they are now getting set for an AFC East showdown against the Bills on the road this Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
There’s certainly plenty to talk about, so here are some thoughts for this week ranging from comments on some of the players performances against the Chargers, along with my thoughts on the ovation that Drew Bledsoe received at half-time at the game.
1. San Diego has serious talent, but they are not a complete team. Statistics are wonderful, and can help in evaluating a team. However, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration that statistics really don’t measure.
In the case of the Chargers, there is no question on both sides of the ball, they have so many great players. The problem for San Diego is there are factors that hurt this team from possibly winning a Super Bowl.
They are not a very disciplined team, and seemed to often make key mistakes when they couldn’t afford to make them. Whether it was a turnover or making a yard on the goal line, this team I feel is not mentally strong enough to win a championship.
Another factor has to be coaching. Norv Turner has a wonderful football mind, but some coaches just should be coordinators, and Turner should be in that category. He’s not strong in “situational football” and it seems like in key situations his players just are not prepared enough to succeed.
His “in game” coaching decisions just don’t seem to be at the same level as the coach here in New England. These factors will probably prevent the Chargers from winning a championship.
2. Safety Sergio Brown stepped up and played a solid game. I had a close-up look at his battles with Antonio Gates, and he was on top the majority of the time. He jumped a route to get his first interception right in front of Gates.
However, he was called for pass interference once, but I was at the game and saw it live, and I really question that call. Overall, I came away very impressed by him.
Jerod Mayo made a great play on the Patriots goal line stand on Sunday. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
3. The Patriots defense deserve more credit for their goal line stand. Again, I had a great view of this “4th down on the 1” situation for the Patriots defense. I have heard certain media members criticize the play call by the Chargers. I disagree with putting the focus on the Chargers with this play.
The Patriots defense made a surge on the line, and forced Mike Tolbert to go more wide where Jerod Mayo was there waiting for him. Most of the credit needs to go to the Patriots defense for their determination.
4. Chad Johnson is progressing and it showed against the Chargers. He might have only caught 2 passes, but both of them were important for the Patriots offense. The crispness of the routes showed improvement and confidence.
On top of it I think his confidence will only grow considering the ovation he received from the fans. I think you are going to see this wide receiver build on this performance, and eventually play a bigger role in the offense. Just give him time, because he is starting to get it.
5. The offensive line did a tremendous job on Sunday. The Chargers have some players that can rush the passer led by Shaun Phillips. They did get to Brady at times, but for the most part he had all day to throw.
The line for me is showing serious strength after two games. I heard all the criticisms before the season began. Would they be able to protect Brady? It is only 2 games, but I think they are on their way to answering that question.
6. That was not “roughing the passer” by Andre Carter in my opinion. Carter got to Phillip Rivers, and hit him clean. He didn’t lower his helmet.
The roughing the passer penalties in the league are getting out of control. The defender has a right to hit the quarterback as long as it is done correctly. I saw nothing on that hit that looked like a penalty. He just hit, and wrapped up the quarterback. I hope the NFL looks into this, as it could become a real problem.
7. I think the Patriots offense will be fine this week without Aaron Hernandez. Reportedly, Hernandez could be out some time with an MCL sprain. I think way too much is being discussed about his loss to the offense.
Hernandez was out a few games last season, and the Patriots offense moved on. I expect the same amount of production out of this offense. I just think you will see other players pick up the slack for his production. Johnson or Julian Edelman could be featured this week, and I see them being able to make up the difference.
8. The crowd at Gillette Stadium was really loud at times. In the past I have criticized how loud Gillette can get for a game. Well, on Sunday I thought the crowd was tremendous in supporting the Patriots. The crowd can make a difference in a game with noise, and I thought on Sunday they succeeded.
9. Drew Bledsoe got a tremendous ovation at half-time of the Chargers game. Fans at home missed the event at half-time when Bob Kraft introduced Jon Morris and Bledsoe as the newest members of the Patriots Hall of Fame.
The applause that Bledsoe received was incredible, and he had a tough time getting his speech out. Bledsoe is definitely a Patriots Hall of Famer, and the fans showed their appreciation. It is a shame this was not broadcasted live.
10. The Bills will not be an easy game on the road. I am not a fan that just believes that the Patriots will just destroy the Bills on this coming Sunday. In fact, I think it will be fairly close, and you could see the Patriots pulling away in the middle of the second half.
Do not underestimate a team that plays you two times every season. I think the Patriots will see a team playing with confidence, and that could be dangerous with some nervous moments.
Those are my 10 thoughts for week 3, but feel free to leave some of your thoughts or concerns on this upcoming game in the comment section below.