Each week I am going to look back, and give you six takeaways I got from watching the Patriots game. I want this to be a balanced post so I am going to give you an equal share of the positive and the negative takeaways in this match-up for the Pats. However, when the Patriots lose, the negatives have to come first.

The Negatives

1. The Offensive Line does a very poor job of protecting quarterback Tom Brady. Going into the game, the reputation of the Bengals defense was their ability to get pressure on the quarterback, and they certainly succeeded against the Patriots.

I could single out players, but honestly this was a failure for the entire line to take. Brady was sacked four times, and was hit eight times which is way too much for any franchise quarterback.

The Bengals defense deserves the credit for the job they did on the offensive line, but you should expect better from this group for the Patriots. The Patriots offensive line failure was a huge part of this loss.

2. Tom Brady had one of his poorest performances as a Patriots quarterback. I  understand the struggles on the offensive line in this game, and the new receivers he is dealing with, but he has to take a huge helping in the blame pie for this loss.

He definitely missed open receivers several times, and made some really ugly throws on top of that. If the offensive line is partially to blame for the loss, than you have to add the quarterback having his hand in it as well.

Brady ended the day 18-38 for 197 yards, and one interception. He also had a passer rating of 52.2 which is horrible. This was a terrible performance for a quarterback that will someday be in the Hall Of Fame.

3. The Patriots offense inability to convert on third down is a strong indication of why the team only scored six points. The Patriots ended the game 1-12 on third down conversions, and that statistic speaks volumes I feel why the Patriots lost on Sunday.

The Positives

1. The Patriots defense did a better job at pressuring the quarterback. The Patriots had a total of four sacks, but I thought they had some consistent pressure throughout the game. It was not perfect, but the pressure I thought was better than it has been in any game prior.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton only threw for 212 yards, and I think the pressure the Patriots put on him was a factor on the yardage being down. The Patriots defense is getting better, and one indication is an improved pass rush.

2. Aqib Talib continues to lock down the receivers he is covering. Talib was covering A.J. Green, and he did catch five balls, but only for a total of 61 yards, and the longest reception was 18 yards. Talib continues to play at an extremely high level.

3. Linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo were extremely active on Sunday.  The Patriots linebackers as a group, I think have a chance to be special this season. Mayo was simply all over the field as he had 11 total tackles. Spikes actually had 12 total tackles, and was huge in stopping the run. There are several things to complain about in this game for the Patriots, but Mayo and Spikes did their job on Sunday.

In concluding, this was a disappointing loss for the Patriots, because the offense was completely shut down while the defense did their job. However, it is only one game, and an encouraging sign is that the offense should improve once they add some key players back to the mix, but the defense which was a liability in the past is becoming a serious strength. This is a marathon, and not a sprint so the future still looks very bright in New England.

I shared more thoughts regarding this loss on the Patriots Fourth And Two Post-Game Show. Please check out the show below.