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Idle thoughts - the "a win is a win" edition

2021 Patriots Season:
Upcoming Opponent:
Next Up: vs Jets
Pick Results: NYJ: 1.8% at NE: 98.2%

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Oct 24th

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turkeyneck

In the Starting Line-Up
JMcD I'm sure is a genius at breaking down film. That's a key to BB advancing him to his position. He's also pretty good at designing passing plays. He's ok overall at calling the offense. But he just has no feel at all for calling the running game. It's like he's tone deaf for the rhythm of the run offense. Except for a few times when the opponent was totally hapless and anything would have worked watching him try to call running plays is like watching a chimpanzee try to play the cello. It's very frustrating. He doesn't seem to have any sense of how to integrate the running attack into the overall offense. Very frustrating to watch.
 

reflexblue

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I think I have mentioned that Bill Belichick has often told us that winning in the NFL is HARD, very hard; so no matter the warts on this one, it is still a beautiful thing. Besides as when the season winds down in December, no one will care about style points from the first week in October. BUT on the other hand, this isn't December and as longtime Pats fans, warts are ALL we want to talk about. So let us get started. I'm in my room at Foxwoods (a poker tournament) and I have to be up early.

I had a bad feeling about this game. On one hand, NO one gets his team more ready to play on a short week than Bill Belichick. On the other hand, there is no more built-in disadvantage in the NFL than being the road team on a Thursday night game. This is especially challenging when you have a defense in complete disarray due to communication issues. Hard to think that that would be resolved on such a short week. Also not only were they on the road they were playing ANOTHER team who seemed to have the "blueprint" to punish this defense, big WR's, speed on the outside, a mobile QB and a decent run game. Going into the game if you wanted to look at a worse case scenario for the Pats, THIS was it. And THEN we find out Gronk wouldn't be playing. :eek:

OFFENSE-

1. QB - With all the issues the defense looked like it was coming into, the last thing you would have expected was a very mediocre game (relatively speaking) from Brady. 2 Turnovers and a few missed open receivers really wrecked havoc on the offense. It also didn't help that the offense had HORRIBLE field position for most of the night, so drives of 50 yds ended in punts, and one drive of 89 yd ended in a FG. Not to mention the 12 penalties, didn't help either (but more on that later)

The bottom line - Brady had a decent game with a number of superb throws and decisions. But he also had his share of clunkers too, and 2 consecutive 3 and outs when you are trying to hold on to a 9 point lead was NOT impressive, to say the least. Add that to the things to do list for the next 10 days.

BTW- interesting note when I looked over the stats, IIRC last week by the end of the first quarter, Brady had hit 8 different receivers. In this game only 5 guys caught balls. I don't know if this was the game plan or what, but it could be an interesting discussion point.

2. RB- Best game yet for Lewis and Gillislee. Tampa has a decent run D and Dion and Mike combined to average a healthy 5.7 ypc on 19 carries. I thought in the 4th quarter Gillislee was grabbing the back of his leg after a run, so I was happy to see him on that last drive. BTW - When Mike was with the Bills he proved he was a very capable receiver. I wish the Pats used him more in that capacity if only to avoid repeating the LGB syndrome of if Gillislee is in there, it will be a run

Note to Josh - Even though he is having his best year as a RB, when given the option, please use Lewis instead.

Next note to Josh - Please don't run short yardage offense runs with your OL in a 2 point stance. It is a recipe for failure.

Last note to Josh: And for god sakes, NEVER run a 3rd and short down without at least SOME kind of run threat. Why make it easy on the defense.

3. OL - Best game of run blocking. Pass protection..... not so much. But I'm thinking it was NOT as bad as it seemed. I know the sack stats and the QB hit stats. But a lot of things go into a successful pass play than just the 5 guys on the OL.

A few times the pressure came from the guy the Pats had Duane Allen blocking one on one. Whatever matchup they were hoping to get....they didn't get it. Allen was overpowered a few times.

Shaq Mason will be credited with giving up a sack when Brady ran right into McCoy, who had been stoned by Mason near the LOS. There was another when Brady had plenty of time and time ran out. The 3rd sack (and most painful to watch) was the Blitzer who came in untouched, while Allen was being blown back by the guy on the other side. And some of the QB hits were more than a bit late, IMHO, yet they all still count on someone's "nextgen stats" blog and look bad.

Also remember that probably because Gronk wasn't there, the game plan often had the RB going out on a route immediately, leaving Brady with one less guy in protection.

Finally, it was mentioned again that they thought Solder isn't healthy. The guy is taking a beating in the media (as well as here). If he is gutting it out with some health issue, it would be a good time to let people know, so it will take the pressure off him.

4. Receivers - I think we call can say it now. Danny Amendola is a bargain. He's getting all the JE11 targets and has produced in spades. In a sense, he's shown that BB wasn't crazy to give him that money when he signed. Who knows what Edelman's career would have ended up being had DA been healthy his first year here. He had beaten out Julian to be the starting slot man out of TC, and had a 100 yd game in his first outing despite being hurt. This might still end up being his last season with the Pats, if it is, he's going out in style. The guy is not only clutch but fearless as well.

Cooks made the most of his limited targets, although he had one bad drop early. Hogan now has 4 TD passes in his first 4 games. The last one to do that was Randy Moss in 2007. And while Hogan should never be mentioned in the same breath as Randy Moss, he STILL has shown significant improvement in his 2nd year. Makes me look forward to what Cooks will bring to the table next season in HIS 2nd year.

Zero Catches by any TE, and a 1-3 record converting in the red zone. Coincidence? I don't think so. Add this to the other notes to Josh. ;)

5. Overall, it is heartening to see that the Bucs had only a 30% success rate in converting on 3rd down (4/13), its more than a little disturbing that the Pats were only slightly better at 4/12 (33%) That is NOT what you'd expect from the league's best offense. Add that to the growing list of things to get better at this week+

6 DEFENSE -

Front Seven - outside of that one series where Martin ran for 48 of his 74 yds, the run defense really wasn't that bad. Most of 48 yds came on great runs (along with missed tackles) from a 2-time pro bowler with two 1400 yd seasons. The rest of the game the Pats controlled the Tampa run game including one big 3rd and short stop.

As far as the rush goes, it wasn't as good as we'd like but showed continued improvement. Winston was corralled most of the time (11 yds rushing) and pressured and hit quite a bit (I'd be interested in seeing the final stats on that. All I know at this point is that they managed just one less sack on Winston than the Bucs had on Brady (2-3).

BTW- Wise had another sack and a man-sized hand to the face penalty. ;)

On a negative note - Hightower has yet to make a significant play this season in the 2 games he's played. He also got big bucks this offseason too. Last night he had just 2 tackles. I did like that Patricia had him playing in the middle on some passing down to mirror Winston. But we are paying Hightower to make some big plays and have an impact on the defense that goes beyond aiding in the communication on the field and having a green dot on his helmet. In comparison, Van Noy was in on 7 tackles with a half sack. Any QB hits at least?

Secondary -

McCourty heard the criticism and responded with a great night. Not only did he defend the pass well, he had 11 unassisted tackles, and pretty much played like his hair was on fire. Chung was equally impressive. Even Steven Gilmore had 5 unassisted tackles, although he had one miss, a hard hit, but didn't wrap.

Butler had his best game of the year overall, although he too had one play where a bad angle allowed Jackson to turn a 15 yd completion into a 41 yd gain he was beaten badly by Jackson on an overthrown pass deep. Both he and Gilmore had multiple pass defenses, and best of all, there was only one pass that I can recall that didn't at least have a defender in the vicinity, unlike last week.

I'm guessing that when we watched the replay, we will find that Patricia simplified his defense, and played mostly zone coverages, which eliminated a lot of potential confusion that can arise in man vs certain formations and motions.

I know the Winston threw for over 240 yds in the 4th quarter, but I'd like to think that a lot of that yardage was the result of the Pats softening their zones in typical Belichickian style to lead the clock. It almost didn't work out. I would think that when you hold an NFL offense to under 70 yds in the first 3 quarters, you wouldn't back off that strategy just because you have a 9 point lead. Consider that a note to Matty P. ;)

It was a solid performance, and the point total is fine. But the last quarter also showed us that there is still a lot of work to be done and this long week should HOPEFULLY contribute to a continued improvement on tonight. This is the NFL so you get better or eventually you die.

7. Special teams - were in a word GREAT - From Gotskowski's 4 clutch FG's (especially the last 2) to Allen's precision punting, the great coverage on punts and KO's, and Ebner's fearless play on the onside kick. Special teams were pretty much flawless. Not much more I can add, especially this late at night.

8. Miscellaneous

a. I bet Koetter is going to get a lot of heat for not going for it on 4th and short and sending Folk out there to try and make a 49 yarder into the wind while he was having a bad night. On the surface, it is a defendable call, but given the all the circumstances, I would have gone for it.

b. The Pats once again lost the penalty war amassing 12 penalties for over 100 yds, including FOUR that gave the Bucs first downs, often on a 3rd down play. Now it should be notted the refs also called a fair amount on the Bucs (unlike last week) 9 for 70 yds. This will never be a championship caliber team unless THIS area of the game improves. The call on Boldin was a perfect example of this year's lack of mental discipline. There was no earthly reason for him to cross the LOS. I was surprised Bill's head didn't explode on national television.

That being said, I have a question. Wasn't there a time when a player could cross the neutral zone, and if he got back without making contact, or causing the offense to move before the ball was snapped there wouldn't be a flag. Has this rule change and merely crossing the LOS automatically triggers a flag?

c. Is it only me or have any of you ever heard of a "pealback block" penalty before tonight. Seems strange that almost every week see the Pats get tagged with some obscure rule. Solder is having a tough enough season as it is. BTW- I would like to compare what he did to get a 15 yd penalty to what the Bucs got with that so-called block in the back, which looked like a blatant clip to me and should have been 15. Just sayin'

d. After listing to Romo and Nance tonight the thought of knowing I will have to listen to Fouts and Eagle 3 more times this season fills me with despair. ;) Romo once again proved he's an A+ right out the box. Ideally, we'd like to think he'd only improve as he gets more experience, but it might do the opposite.

e. ON to the surprising Jets on the road followed by the Chargers and Falcons at home. They REALLY Need to be 6-2 at the bye because they will take on a horrendous road trip from hell over 5 of the next 6 games including road games against the Raiders, Broncos, and Steelers. The Jets are always tough at home, and the Falcons are off to pretty good start and will be on a mission to prove that the best team didn't win the Superbowl.

f. I really wanted to piss on Cam Newton's so-called apology. At the time he might have meant it as a joke, but it still doesn't make it right. I think it is another example of an althete not understanding the power of his words. I like that he didn't read from some PR flack's script. Instead, he winged it, and when he told kids NOT to be like him, but rather be better than him; he got me to believe it was a sincere attempt to make amends. Just my personal interpretation.

Summary - A win is a win is a win. The team is improving and will need to keep on improving as the schedule only gets harder as the year goes on.

Well I hope you are happy. It's past 3AM and if I get knocked out tomorrow I will have a ready excuse. Regardless of what happens now, it WON'T be my fault. (just like the president). Fortunately, I'm in the money so I will at least win something. I got that much going for me...at least. Good night ;)
Your question about it not being a penalty if you got back after jumping over the LOS. At one time you could jump over and as long as you got back before the snap it wasn't flagged. I don't know when this changed (last ten -fifteen years) but i can't think of a reason for changing the rule.
 

reflexblue

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Frankly we didn't win this game. Tampa Bay lost it for us. I have no idea what the hell is wrong with the OL. It's not just Solder, it's also Cannon and the IOL just giving up pressure after pressure, sack after sack. This makes it just about impossible for Brady to have time to connect on the longer routes.

There needs to be a Nick Folk appreciation thread. The last thing he ever did in the NFL was to gift this game to us with a big fat bowtie on top.
Agree on the o-line, its the same as last year and brady is eventually get killed if they don't straighten out.
 

jah

Owner Of A Tactical Coffee Shop For Men
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They also already have as many road wins as the 2009 squad. And one of the 2009 wins was in London.

They also already have 1 more home loss than 2009, playoffs included.
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Sorry. The last week and the absurd Gilmore hate here makes it difficult to approach this in calm matter.




Except the yards are completely deceptive because the Pats were in a position where they let the Bucs drain their own clock twice without any consequence because the FGs were missed. Despite 160 yards being generated in a span of 7-8 minutes it resulted in 0 points and zilch value for the Bucs. Making them have long drives is the entire point.

I dont understand why you think they would have kept playing that conservatively if the first long Tampa drive would have cut the deficit already. That was textbook situational football.


Looks like situational football thread would be in order. One would think after 16 years of BB people would learn & start to enjoy.

Im not saying its always easy on the eye . but this was BBs masterpiece of running the game and also of short week “preparation“ in a critical situation beforehand. He put the foot down on over-communication, put green dot back on High and went to DB basic in a three day “preparation“ window.

I don't get the “ugly win“ at all. It was ugly football, like every TNF, but the win was a beauty.

(TB said during the week they were not in control of games often first 4 weeks. They controlled this tough road game from the first defensive 3 and out..)
 
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SlowGettingUp

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Allen's precision punting

From Bedard at BSJ:

The Patriots average 37.6 net yards on punts, the second-lowest in the NFL, while punter Ryan Allen has forced just one fair catch in the entire season and is currently PFF’s lowest graded punter by a significant margin​
 

Ring 6

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Your question about it not being a penalty if you got back after jumping over the LOS. At one time you could jump over and as long as you got back before the snap it wasn't flagged. I don't know when this changed (last ten -fifteen years) but i can't think of a reason for changing the rule.
You can jump back but he ran like 5 steps.
 

archstanton543

In the Starting Line-Up
What is more clear to me as this season unfolds is....NE is deploying a fleet of JAGs in their front 7 and OL. The lack of talent in the trenches is alarming. Where are the foundation pieces? I count Hightower as one, though he's a continuing health saga.

Most of the players on the O and D-lines are holdovers from last year. It's not a talent issue. IMO, I think it's an injury or conditioning issue (or both, maybe).
 

BradyFTW!

Goodell sucks
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Hopefully Tampa cuts Folk this week and he signs with whomever the Pats play next.

Call me crazy, but the Pat's strategy can't be to count on the opposing kicker missing three field goals. Add nine points to the Buc's score and the game doesn't look good at all.

Eh, more like 6. A 56 yarder to end the half is going to be missed more often than not. Still not ideal, but counting that first FG as something that should have been good doesn't really make sense. Especially since only one of the roughing the passers that led to it was actually a foul.
 

patfanken

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From Bedard at BSJ:

The Patriots average 37.6 net yards on punts, the second-lowest in the NFL, while punter Ryan Allen has forced just one fair catch in the entire season and is currently PFF’s lowest graded punter by a significant margin​
Well THAT'S not good. BTW- I was referring to the short punt he made to the Buc's 2 late in the game that was downed by Slatter. THAT one was a precision punt... at least
 

SlowGettingUp

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Well THAT'S not good. BTW- I was referring to the short punt he made to the Buc's 2 late in the game that was downed by Slatter. THAT one was a precision punt... at least

Fair enough.

For some reason last night Gostkowski's kickoffs were nearly all deep in the end zone. Quite a change from the previous games where he often forced a return, mostly to good effect.

Given all the guys on the roster that are special teams only (how many of them are there?), doesn't seem like they are earning their keep at all. And that's even apart from what feels like a penalty on every play. The good Amendola punt return last night was one of the few plays that has stood out.
 

tasmlab

Starting QB, won 20 SBs, number is retired
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Eh, more like 6. A 56 yarder to end the half is going to be missed more often than not. Still not ideal, but counting that first FG as something that should have been good doesn't really make sense. Especially since only one of the roughing the passers that led to it was actually a foul.

6 would've done it. But I'd hope that the Pats would've started playing against the Bucs instead of the clock had some of the field goals went through. Dunno.
 

mgteich

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Most of the players on the O and D-lines are holdovers from last year. It's not a talent issue. IMO, I think it's an injury or conditioning issue (or both, maybe).

???

8 members of the offensive line did indeed return
=====================
New on the defensive line: Butler, Marsh, Wise, Guy
These players have lots of defensive reps, and are key to the play of the DL.
 

primetime

Pro Bowl Player
They're above .500 with by far the most difficult stretch of their schedule behind them. They still have 6 games against the AFC East on their schedule. They'd have to try hard not to win 11 games.
 

mgteich

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They're above .500 with by far the most difficult stretch of their schedule behind them. They still have 6 games against the AFC East on their schedule. They'd have to try hard not to win 11 games.

Current 3-2
Division 5-1 (we might go 6-0, but 5-1 seems more reasonable)
SO FAR 8-3
==========
SO, are we really a LOCK to win 3 out of 4 against 4 playoff contenders? (ATL, OAK, DEN and PITT)?
 
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