By: Russ Goldman
Each week after a Patriots victory I usually go back and write a post about “What We Learned From The Patriots Victory”. I have decided to change it starting last week, and focus on what good came out of each game. The negatives are again this week extremely obvious. I am going to bring you “Five Positives To Take Away From The Patriots Victory Against The Broncos.”
The Patriots were able to break away from the Broncos in the second half in their 41-23 victory. Anyone that watched this game could see with their own eyes how the Patriots were dominated in the first quarter. The Broncos offense ran wild against the Patriots defense.
It seemed at the time, that the Broncos would actually have their way with the Patriots for 4 quarters. Well, I guess you can say much changed in the second quarter, and throughout the game. The Patriots adjusted on defense, and Tom Brady took over on offense.
So instead of harping on the first quarter negatives, let’s take a look at the good to come out of this victory:
1. The Patriots made defensive sideline adjustments that changed the game. The Broncos ran the ball down the Patriots throats in the first quarter as they had 167 yards from 15 attempts which is an 8.2 yards per carry average.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, the Patriots switched their defense from a 4-3 (even spacing) alignment to an odd spacing defense which is close to a 3-4 base. After the switch, the Broncos only ran the ball 68 yards on 16 carries.
Also, I think you also witnessed a more aggressive defense that got after Tim Tebow and created turnovers. In football, coaches are obviously very important, and much credit needs to be given to Matt Patricia for changing things up that worked.
2. The Patriots defense put pressure on the quarterback. A major key in this game I believed was making Tebow uncomfortable in the pocket.
After a rocky first quarter, the defense, turned up the heat on Tebow, and did get after him. Mark Anderson on one play stripped the ball from Tebow, and caused a turnover which led to a score by the Patriots.
The defense sacked Tebow a total of 4 times, but the pressure was much more than the sacks. They kept him in the pocket, and the pressure made him indecisive on several plays.
Even with the injury to Andre Carter, the defense stepped up, and got after the quarterback. They were aggressive in this game, and did blitz Tebow on occasion.
What I saw in the second half, was a similar game-plan that I witnessed against Ben Roethlisburger in Pittsburgh last season. The Patriots kept him in the pocket, and brought the heat.
3. Mark Anderson was a difference maker on the defensive line. The production for Anderson had slipped the last few weeks. Well, against the Broncos he was a factor in the Patriots victory.
Anderson forced one fumble on Tebow, and sacked the quarterback twice. With the absence of Carter during the game from an injury, someone needed to pick up the slack, and Anderson certainly did his part.
4. The offensive line did a great job of protecting Tom Brady. For the most part, the line was fantastic in giving Brady time to throw the ball. Elvis Dumervil did get a sack on Brady, but he along with Von Miller were neutralized.
The line is really coming together, and showing they can protect Brady against some really good pass rushers. If they can keep up this consistency, Brady will continue to carve up opposing defenses.
5. Aaron Hernandez steps up to be a huge factor in the passing game. The Broncos did a nice job of containing Rob Gronkowski for the majority of the game.
However, the other Patriots tight end took over, and was huge in this game. Hernandez had 9 receptions for 129 yards, and one touchdown.
The beauty of these tight ends is a defense really has an issue just stopping one of them. Hernandez seemed to be all over the field, and in this game it was his turn to shine.
This is another week that there are several positives to take out of this victory. As I stated last week, ignore the negatives and let’s look forward to Saturday’s game against the Dolphins.
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