By: Russ Goldman
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.
1. The Patriots Defense got six sacks against Quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Patriots defense when it had to, put serious pressure on the quarterback in the second half.
Now, I do feel the sacks came from an act of desperation to start blitzing on a consistent basis, but it seriously worked. The Dolphins offensive line had serious issues in protecting the quarterback coming into this game, but that should not take away the effort that was finally made to be aggressive on defense.
The one criticism I have is that the majority of the pressure from blitzing seem to be a half-time adjustment, but in the end the Patriots defense changed the game with their aggressive play. I am hoping this style of play in the second half of the game against the Dolphins, we’ll see more often moving forward.
2. Cornerback Logan Ryan continues to make an impact on defense. Ryan was able to make game changing plays, and it was needed since the Patriots were missing Aqib Talib in this game.
Ryan had two sacks, and on one of these sacks forced a fumble that got the ball back to the Patriots, and really shifted momentum in this game. He also ended the game with five tackles, and almost had an interception. This is the second straight game where Ryan made game-changing plays.
3. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson continues to improve, and made a difference in the passing game. We continue to hear how the new receivers are not on the same page with quarterback Tom Brady.
Well, in this game, Dobson had four receptions for 60 yards, and you could see the relationship with his quarterback is improving. He also caught a real nice touchdown pass in this game. We are starting to see real chemistry building between Brady and Dobson.
1. The Patriots defense continues to give up too many rushing yards. The Dolphins had struggled to run the ball this season, and yesterday they ran for 145 yards, and controlled the game on the ground in the first half.
The Patriots in this game gave up over 4.6 yards per carry, and this is just unacceptable. I understand the players that are missing, but the Patriots need to fix this problem.
2. The Patriots offense was extremely poor once again on third down. In this game, the Patriots were 2-10 on third down which is 20 per cent and really pathetic.
This is the second straight week that converting on third down has been beyond embarrassing. Moving forward, they are going to need to improve on third down if they have aspirations in playing in a big game in New Jersey in February.
3. The Patriots need to feature Stevan Ridley more in the running game. Ridley had 79 yards with a 5.6 yards per carry average which is excellent.
I don’t understand the fascination that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has with Legarrette Blount, and Brandon Bolden. These backs are serviceable, but they do not have the consistency,and big play potential that Ridley has already demonstrated. It is time to feed him the ball much more, from the beginning to the end of the game.
In concluding, this come from behind victory was not pretty, but it still counts the same in the standings as a win. The Patriots once again found a way to win, when they were in a tough spot.
They are continuing to overcome adversity, and several injuries to get the victory. I think half-way through the season you should be encouraged by the record, and the potential this team has moving forward, because they are still in position to potentially do something special this season.