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. Aqib Talib continues to show his value as the number one cornerback for the Patriots. The job for Talib on Sunday was to shut down Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Well, this was a battle for Talib, and overall he really did his job well. He limited Thomas to four receptions for 41 total yards. Thomas did score a touchdown, but these two players were fighting down the field often, and overall I would have to give the victory of this battle to Talib.
The Patriots have a much better defense when he plays, and he sure showed his value on Sunday. This defense has not had this great of a cornerback since Ty Law, and that is high praise.
2. Linebackers Dane Fletcher, and Jamie Collins make important contributions in this game. With the poor play of linebacker of Dont’a Hightower in this game, it was nice to see two players step up when the Patriots desperately needed it.
Fletcher had seven total tackles, and forced a fumble in the second half, which was a help in the Patriots second half comeback. Collins had a total of ten tackles, and for a rookie that is impressive in an important AFC match-up. The next man up mentality certainly applies to Collins and Fletcher.
3. Julian Edelman stands out on offense and in special teams. In a season that the Patriots offense was dealing with injuries early, Edelman has stepped up, and has been an impact player at times on offense, and on special teams.
In this game, he had nine receptions for 110 yards, and two touchdowns. On top of that, he had an additional 39 total yards on three punt returns. Edelman has proven me wrong, as there is no question his value to the Patriots has been pretty high this season.
1. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower was a disappointment in this game. Hightower was beat by tight end Jacob Tamme in the first half, on his touchdown reception, and overall was a non-factor in this game. He ended the game with three total tackles, and apparently was replaced in the second half. I expect more from a player that was drafted in the first round.
2. Running back Stevan Ridley continues to fumble the ball. For all the good that Ridley can offer the Patriots on offense, his fumbling diminishes tremendously his impact.
The Patriots were driving in their first possession, and his fumble led to a touchdown, and totally changed the momentum of the game early. I honestly do not know what his future will be with the Patriots the rest of the season.
3. The turnovers destroyed anything positive the Patriots did early in this game. The Patriots defense got off the field against the Broncos on their opening drive, and that was followed by a promising drive by the Patriots offense.
The positive early beginning for the Pats was wiped out by three turnovers that all came very quickly. They were very fortunate that they found a way to come back in the second half, because in the majority of games, a team does not recover from that type of deficit, that was caused mostly from the turnovers.
In concluding, this was a tale of two halves of football. I have to give credit to Denver, because they seized the opportunity in the first half, and put themselves in a great position to win a game.
However, for the Patriots to fight back in the second half, shows some serious character that might be a great indicator of things to come in the near future. The Patriots got lucky in OT with the punt, but that shouldn’t diminish what they accomplished to get to that point of the game. This was a well earned victory for the New England Patriots.