By: Russ Goldman
Here are my six takeaways from this latest Patriots game. I generally want this to be a balanced post, but in this game there are more positives than negatives so you will see that reflected in this article.
1.The offensive line stepped up in the running game, and also protecting quarterback Tom Brady in the passing game. The Patriots ran the ball for 142 yards, and the offensive line opened up great lanes for the running backs throughout the game.
Going into the game, with an offensive line missing a few starters, there was a good reason to be concerned. However, they gave Brady plenty of time to find the open receiver. This unit deserves a good amount of credit in this game.
2. Rookies Logan Ryan and Jamie Collins step up on defense. With the defense dealing with several injuries before the game, and during it, these two players did their jobs very well.
Ryan did a very nice job at cornerback, as he had two interceptions, and deflected a fourth down pass away. His progression is continuing to show itself throughout the season.
Collins was often seen covering tight end Dennis Pitta, and did a very nice job in this game. I have been hearing for several years that the Patriots need a coverage linebacker. I think Collins is that player.
3. Running back LeGarrette Blount does his best Corey Dillon impression in this game. Blount continues to impress me from game to game. In this game he ran for 76 yards, with a 4.8 yards per carry, and two touchdowns.
It was brought to my attention by a friend that he reminded him of Dillon late in the game, and I have to agree with that. With Blount, the Patriots have a closer.
4. The Patriots rush defense steps up in this game. Now, I know the Ravens are not having a good year running the ball, but you have to give some credit to the defense for limiting them on the ground in this game.
Running backs ran for only 82 yards on 23 yards per carry. You can criticize the defense when they get gashed against the run, but you should praise them when they get the job done. Against the Ravens, the defense stepped up stopping the run.
1. The Patriots suffered more injuries in this game. During the game, running back Shane Vereen went out with a reported groin injury. Cornerback Devin McCourty left the game with a reported head injury. The positive is that the players that replaced them stepped up. The negative is that we will have to monitor their status moving forward.
2. I question the offensive play-calling early in the second half. The Patriots ran the ball more than they passed in this game which is unusual. However, I wished that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels called more running plays in the third quarter.
I get that they were trying to get that touchdown to put the game out of reach, but you could have done that with running the ball. The Ravens could not really stop the Patriots on the ground.
Overall this was a dominating performance for the Patriots, and they beat a team that desperately needed the victory. I am hearing excuses on the radio and on TV for how bad the Ravens played. Well, the Patriots made the Ravens look that bad, and that is the bottom line in this game.