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. Rob Gronkowski shows just how valuable he is for the Patriots offense. Gronkowski had a great game as he had nine receptions for 143 yards, and one touchdown.
However, another great value he offers is simply his presence on the field opens up opportunities for the other receivers in the Patriots offense. I don’t think it is an accident that Danny Amendola, and Aaron Dobson both went over 100 yards in this game. Moving forward the Patriots offense will continue to improve, and Gronkowski will continue to be a factor whether he catches the ball or not.
2. The Patriots offense on third down improved dramatically in this game. A major issue for several weeks now has been the ability for the Patriots to convert on third down.
Well, we saw a marked improvement against the Steelers, as the Patriots went 7-12, and many of these conversions were factors in the amount of points the team scored. This was a step in the right direction for the Patriots offense.
3. Defensive end Chandler Jones steps up for the Patriots defense. With the Patriots defense dealing with so many injuries, it is so important to see Jones having an impact on defense. Jones had six total tackles, and also had two sacks which included some solid pressure on the quarterback. He could be a huge factor in the progression of the Patriots defense this season.
1. Cornerback Kyle Arrington struggled in this game. He was asked often to cover wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, and he was burned on more than a few occasions. Arrington has been decent this season, but in this game he was the weakest link.
2. The Patriots rush defense was just not good enough against the Steelers. The defense this week faced an offense that was not running the ball well this season. Well, when you give up 108 yards to the Steelers, which is a 5.4 yards per carry average, you are just not getting the job done.
They are really struggling on the delayed hand-offs giving up good chunks of yardage. The rush defense needs to improve over the course of the season, or the Patriots could be in trouble when they get to the Playoffs.
3. The Patriots injuries continue to grow as more players go down against the Steelers. Injuries are a part of the game, but the Patriots have dealt with more than their share this season.
Against the Steelers, the defense took a hit as defensive end Rob Ninkovich went out with a reported foot injury. On top of that, safety Steve Gregory went out with a thumb injury, and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard went out late in the game as well. We have to hope these injuries are not too serious.
On offense, wide receiver Austin Collie went out with a knee injury, but honestly the Patriots have depth at that position so it shouldn’t hurt too much if he is out for significant time. The injures continue to come, so only time will tell what type of impact they ultimately have on the rest of the season.
In concluding, whenever you beat the Steelers it is a good win, but this was not a good team the Patriots played on Sunday. However, we got to see improvement with the Patriots offense, so regardless of the opponent, this was a victory that can help the Patriots moving forward.