Idle thoughts - the championship edtion

2020 Patriots Season:
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Dec 6th

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pencilneckgeek

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Great stuff, Ken. You missed a classic, Patriots heartburner in the first half where opportunities that are never squandered late in the 2nd quarter or game were missed. Despite thoroughly outplaying the Rams, they couldn't cash-in and so it was a nailbiter until late. I kept forgetting that it was tied 3-3, because the offense was having so much trouble that it felt like we were behind. All it took was getting one drive going with 1st down play action to Gronk, followed by two easy reads on a good play and a beautiful throw and catch on the third iteration of that same play. That 7-point lead made me feel much better. :) In the afterglow of the big game, I, too, can only have idle thoughts, so I might as well post them here.

1. I would have titled this one "The Five Minute Offense Edition." Nothing was more satisfying than seeing the success of the running game late, after beating their heads against the Rams outstanding defensive line for 3.5 quarters and then watching the Pats run over the Rams on that final drive. The only hiccup was Devlin not quite finishing his block on Fowler, and Michel not being able to break his arm tackle on 3rd down. Still, I felt confident in Ghost, which is weird given his earlier miss and the added pressure of the situation, but he seems to thrive on that just as much as the rest of the guys on this team. Their physical toughness proved as valuable as their mental toughness in this one.

With all the attention put on the new offenses of the NFL where everyone is putting-up huge passing numbers, and Brady looks like he's in decline to the fantasy football fans, he was able to hand the ball off time and time again and keep moving the chains. There was a period where it wasn't working, and thus, there were a few more pass plays than running plays, but 47% running is well above league average, and when going up against a quick defense is a great strategy for winning in the 4th quarter, if you can keep it close. It will be interesting to see whether the fullback makes a comeback in the NFL. The Ravens, Titans, and Seahawks are trying to make a run-first offense work, and in these days of smaller faster defenders and limited quarterback talent, I wonder who else will join the party.

2. I was calling for Edleman to get the MVP, but in retrospect, I would have liked to see it go to Gronk. He made the two big plays on their scoring drive and made a ton of big blocks to go with that. Not saying that he deserves it more than Julian or the defense, but it would be fun to cap the year of Gronk's Decline with a superbowl MVP, and he was a worth candidate.

3. I'm really impressed with how the front 6 came around late this year. They were strong against the run in the base defense this year with a few notable exceptions, but their run defense in nickel was downright troubling for most of the season. Then, they go out and play most of the postseason in nickel - mixing and matching guys along the way - and dominate. What impressed me most was their ability to be stout at the line of scrimmage on runs and play action and then stunt off that into a pass rush. There were times where Guy or Shelton held-up two defenders, and Van Noy or Hightower managed to not engage a blocker, but rather looped around to make Goff an unhappy camper. I don't know how much of that was the DL, the LBs, BB, or Flo, but it was impressive how they managed to get after Goff when in their run D personnel for the game.

4. Needless to say, that secondary is first-rate. Even when Chung went down, I realized that they had a player in Harmon who wouldn't miss a beat. DMac's versatility really shows it's value there, as he can fill Chung's role quite well in addition to his own, while Harmon does the free safety job almost as well as DMac.

That's it for now. I'm looking forward to the Xs & Os thread. Hopefully, it lasts as long as the blame-casting for coming-up a couple drives short of a Superbowl title did last year.
 
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pencilneckgeek

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Want to watch the game again. Didn’t see JC Jacksons name called very often, if at all. What was his snap count? Woods who I thought was going to be one of the go to’s was almost invisible. Was he on Woods or Reynolds?

I didn't see him out there much until late. They were in zone a bunch of the time, and when he's been involved, he's played more man. The regular unit looked to be Gilmour, JMac, JJ, Chung, and DMac, and then Harmon moved into DMac's role and Devin moved into Chung's when he went down. I saw JC out there in dime late, whereas I think Harmon was the 6th Dback before Chung went down.
 

patfanken

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Thanks for taking the time to detail your thoughts

Here are some ideal thoughts I have.

1. The offensive game plan in one word? Stubborn. They went away too much from what was working and went too much to what was. They failed to change their pace or rhythm really the entire game and the result is a mere 13 points and a max at a chance of 19. Just cause it was good enough today doesn't mean it is good enough in general.
I can understand your frustration, but I think you are being a bit too harsh. I get mad a Josh when he goes empty on 3rd and short to often for my taste, but to say he wasn't trying different things is a little over the top.

BB himself gave him kudos for the adjustment he made just before the TD drive. The fact that they hadn't practiced that package tells me that he went through a number of OTHER adjustments before finally finding something that worked consistently.



While I understand that sometimes you find yourself in a defensive game we've seen before when such games can be blown wide open (KC this year and the Carolina SB). The lack of aggression here was annoying and could have been a mistake. Usually it would have been. You don't want for a team to get the lead until you decide to attack. They never even ran a true hurry up or no huddle. Also on 2 attempts to Sony and 6 to Hogan they were 0 for 8 in passing. I get testing it, fine. But when it isn't working and you have something that i,s don't force a match up you are clearly losing if you don't have to.

I posted early in the third quarter that I wish they would come out in no huddle at some point. But it should be noted that on the TD drive they did seem to go more "up tempo" on that drive. if not no huddle

As why the RB's were rarely involved in this game, I think part of the blame should go to Brady. He was oddly not sharp with the RB's White only had one catch. I am interested to see the "rewatch thread" to see what the Rams were doing that would essentially shut down what is a key factor in the Pats offense.

2. Invisible yards 1 - While I wasn't the first to say it I will repeat it. Cooks had the most forgettable 120 yards I've ever seen. I watched every second of the game and I couldn't tell you were half of them came from. This has been the story of Cooks in his career. A guy who gets a lot of stats but rarely seems to effect games. Particularly big ones. The lone exception is that Jags game last year for us.
Again a bit harsh. Cooks is a very good player, but not good enough to get top WR dollars. BTW- I am on record that NO WR is worth top WR money.

By all accounts Cooks was hard working, good teammate, kind of guy who works hard at his craft. I think losing him so early in the Eagles superbowl was a very under reported loss. And even though about 40 of those yards came in garbage time, I though Cooks had a very productive game overall. Remember he was matched up most of the time against a very good CB

3. Invisible yards 2 - While it doesn't usually show up on the stat sheet the STs (save for field goal kickers) was on point for both teams. The Pats had that great early run back but besides that both teams found themselves constantly pinned back. The Pats downed a number of balls inside the 10. It was a good field position game.
Good of you to recognize the "field position" aspect of the game. Too often in this age of 30 point per team games, the value of field position is lost on tpp many fans

4.
Gost - He has now missed makeable kicks in back to back to back SBs. His contract is up this year. While I don't think they should move this HAS to change how you look at him. Yes. The other kicker missed one too but he had a gimpy plant leg. Frankly speaking you can't go into another SB with Gost and be afraid to try anything over 50 or just accepting you will miss one or two kicks. Generally speaking you can't keep taking points off the board vs the best competition in the NFL. It bit them last year. Not this year or in 16'. If they go again with Gost it may bit them that time. Something to think about.
I can only say, "be careful what you wish for". EVERY kicker misses at some point. There was a time in this game when making over 50% of your FG attempts got you an NFL career, and any kick over 40 yds was a risky proposition.

Now an 80% success rate is the "Mendoza line" for NFL kickers, and while kicking is much more of a science that it was decades ago, it still isn't full proof any more that Brady missing a wide open receiver. It happens. Maybe not often, but it happens. Same goes for Gotskowski

One interesting stat I saw from Atlanta was that there were ZERO FG attempts missed at MB Stadium this year by both home and away teams up until Sunday where 2 were missed

5. Beware the peaking team - The Saints and Rams were on a downward trend and the Pats were on an upward one. Any Saints fan looking at this game and believing they would have won is wrong. They were not the same team they were weeks ago and neither were the Rams. The Saints wree frankly lucky to get by the Eagles and failed to beat the equally struggling Rams. The Pats would have beat them too. This team was peaking at the right time and people in the media ignored it. Like the ignore the Giants and the Ravens in 2012 and other peaking team. We need to remember these kind of teams are the most dangerous. During next years playoffs I will need to give this factor more weight.

Good point - I agree that the Pats would have beaten the Saints. The Saints OL is worse than the Rams'. Their defensive front line isn't as good either, and neither is their DC. Sure they would have scored more than 3 points and Brees wouldn't have wilted under the pressure like Goff, but Brees hadn't been playing well for over a month, and nothing he did AT HOME in the NFCCG would make you feel different.

6. Defense going into 2019 - The priority is to keep the key parts of the unit together for next year right now. Maybe Gronks walks and maybe not. You can't control that. In any case after what this unit did this year I don't want to mess with it too much. Every year we see the Pats revamp core parts of this unit, extend the preseason into the regular season, install and practice the more complex plays after thanksgiving and hope it is working and attack by the playoffs. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Wouldn't it be nice to go into next year not having to worry about teaching a bunch of new people the scheme, hope to build chemistry with a number key players and just hit the ground running? I think they would be nice. It doesn't mean you need to keep everyone. But I think Flowers and the McCourty bros need to be a priority. It doesn't mean we need to pay Devin 14M cause frankly he isn't worth that. But keep him happy and here and try to keep the core of this unit together one more year.

I think Devin himself walked back from the comments he originally made. Both brothers will be back. BTW- I saw some obscure stat that has become so present these days. In the superbowl BOTH McCourty brothers were tracked as having the fastest speed (mph) in that game. So its not like either is slowing down

7. Edelman - He is a HOFer. You play the game to win championships and the guy absolutely is one of the top options I want on my team for that. The thing about Jules is he doesn't abuse the bad teams as much as a Julio Jones would, but he can get work done vs any defense and be a key playmakrer Doesn't matter the scheme or talent he is up against. Unless you literally don't give a QB time to throw he will get a bunch of yards on you. He is an unstoppable force in these games. Denver has come the closest in 15' but most of that had to do with Brady not having time, not Edelman being unable to get open in a reasonable amount of time.

I have loved Jules for a LONG time, but he isn't an NFL HOFer. Just think about this. He has 30 career TD's. Hienz Ward has over 80. IIRC he has on 2 years over 1000 yds, and multitude of other stats that would make it almost impossible for him to get into the HOF. Now if you are talking about the Pats HOF, he will make it the first year he's eligible .
 

p8ryts

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I dont think this is a question. Always go with Flowers over Brown.



In the end this was BBs defense. Flores will be a good hire just based on his personality and as a culture builder. But whether he can come up with gameplans like that and instill them in his players on his own we shall see next September.
No, keep the OL intact.
 

ausbacker

TB12
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To be frank, I'm still somewhat stunned how fast the Patriots defense played. The unit looked fit, conditioned, hungry and healthy. Heck, all the Linebackers had burst. That's the best I've seen Hightower physically look in some time. I almost feel bad wondering if he was done during the season as he looked the spritely impact player we all know and love.
 

luuked

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I can understand your frustration, but I think you are being a bit too harsh. I get mad a Josh when he goes empty on 3rd and short to often for my taste, but to say he wasn't trying different things is a little over the top.

BB himself gave him kudos for the adjustment he made just before the TD drive. The fact that they hadn't practiced that package tells me that he went through a number of OTHER adjustments before finally finding something that worked consistently.

Thats the thing that usually makes me chuckle a lot when the armchair poster here want McDaniels fired or critizise his playcalling. He knows more about football and how to create mismatches, change up and try to find weaknesses than all of the people here put together.

He knows like only a handful other people in the league how to run an offense and certainly is not an idiot. Keep a balanced attack, when the run is working perfectly throw in a few pass plays to keep the opponents honest but also see how they are defending certain things to find potential holes.

Did I like how the fourth down failed ? Nope. Did I have a problem with the call ? Not really because I am sure they saw something either in previous tapes or in one of the overhead shots on the Surface tablets that made them think that they could get White on that pick play and convert it. It wasn't there so Brady had to go to his second choice which unfortunately was a double covered Gronk.

There is a rhyme and reason behind most playcalls and when he switches it up. The drive with the Gronk catches is the best example. The only reason the hoss-y-juke suddenly worked so well is because they finally found a personnel grouping (22) in which they could scheme mismatches in coverage. This was not Brady suddenly turning a switch into clutch mode but McDaniels putting his QB in a position that he excels in.
 

n6249c

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I just think given everything that Flowers is the harder to replace player than Brown. The hypothetical was pick one of the two. In reality the Pats might pick both (if reasonably possible) or maybe neither.
Not so sure of that. At best it’s a really close call, certainly arguable either way. Remember, we are not talking about an OL who is just a serviceable starting tackle. We’re talking about the largest player in the NFL, about whom no less than Von Miller said:
He's the best right tackle in the National Football League! And he may even be a top-five tackle, period, in the National Football League. There’s not another tackle who’s that tall, that big and can move the way he moves.
Note that Miller said that in August 2017, before Brown spent a year under the tutelage of Dante Scarnecchia and flipped over to play LT on a line that protected Brady to the tune of one sack total in three-plus playoff games.

Wynn may turn out to be a successful LT in the NFL, but he is an untested rookie that was questioned as undersized for an NFL OT when he was drafted. Not a sure bet, nor a player who should be tagged as an easy replacement for a 6’8” 380lb top LT.
 

luuked

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Not so sure of that. At best it’s a really close call, certainly arguable either way. Remember, we are not talking about an OL who is just a serviceable starting tackle. We’re talking about the largest player in the NFL, about whom no less than Von Miller said:

Note that Miller said that in August 2017, before Brown spent a year under the tutelage of Dante Scarnecchia and flipped over to play LT on a line that protected Brady to the tune of one sack total in three-plus playoff games.

Wynn may turn out to be a successful LT in the NFL, but he is an untested rookie that was questioned as undersized for an NFL OT when he was drafted. Not a sure bet, nor a player who should be tagged as an easy replacement for a 6’8” 380lb top LT.

And Trey Flowers is an elite player who can play anywhere on the DL. With Wynn there is at least another player on the roster who has elite traits and was chosen to play tackle. Who exactly do we have to do what Flowers has been doing for 3 years now ?

Wise ? Simon ? Rivers ?
 

50-yard-line

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
They're wrong, like you said the game was close right thill the end, the 'boring' super bowls were the ones that were totally lop-sideded with scores such as 46-10.

The difference between a high-scoring arena game and a game like this is that in the former, as long as there's time left, you expect more points. In a game like this, every play becomes more important, because one breakdown, at any time, can be the difference.
 

n6249c

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And Trey Flowers is an elite player who can play anywhere on the DL. With Wynn there is at least another player on the roster who has elite traits and was chosen to play tackle. Who exactly do we have to do what Flowers has been doing for 3 years now ?

Wise ? Simon ? Rivers ?
Don’t get me wrong, I like Flowers too. Just not sure I’d call him elite and put him at the top of his NFL cohort. I don’t think he’s quite at the level of the JJ Watts and Von Millers and Clowneys that are routinely expected to be the best in the league. I see Flowers as being just a hair from reaching that level, so far. He might be there or get there, but for now I’m seeing Trent Brown as being just a bit more key. YMMV. I’d love to see them both stay. If either leaves it won’t be the end of hope for another trophy next year.
 

DarrylS

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Saw a statistic on Twitter yesterday that for the Rams they had 13 opportunities to convert on 3rd down.. and only gained 13 yards total in those efforts.. they did convert 3, but again shows how kick ass the Pats D was..

Boston Sports Info‏ @bostonsportsinf 21h21 hours ago
New England Patriots held the LA Rams to 13 total yards on 13 total 3rd down plays in the Super Bowl 13 total yards on 3rd down in an entire game against the 2nd best offense in the NFL amazing
 

borg

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Here are some ideal thoughts I have.

1. The offensive game plan in one word? Stubborn. They went away too much from what was working and went too much to what was. They failed to change their pace or rhythm really the entire game and the result is a mere 13 points and a max at a chance of 19. Just cause it was good enough today doesn't mean it is good enough in general.

While I understand that sometimes you find yourself in a defensive game we've seen before when such games can be blown wide open (KC this year and the Carolina SB). The lack of aggression here was annoying and could have been a mistake. Usually it would have been. You don't want for a team to get the lead until you decide to attack. They never even ran a true hurry up or no huddle. Also on 2 attempts to Sony and 6 to Hogan they were 0 for 8 in passing. I get testing it, fine. But when it isn't working and you have something that i,s don't force a match up you are clearly losing if you don't have to.

2. Invisible yards 1 - While I wasn't the first to say it I will repeat it. Cooks had the most forgettable 120 yards I've ever seen. I watched every second of the game and I couldn't tell you were half of them came from. This has been the story of Cooks in his career. A guy who gets a lot of stats but rarely seems to effect games. Particularly big ones. The lone exception is that Jags game last year for us.

3. Invisible yards 2 - While it doesn't usually show up on the stat sheet the STs (save for field goal kickers) was on point for both teams. The Pats had that great early run back but besides that both teams found themselves constantly pinned back. The Pats downed a number of balls inside the 10. It was a good field position game.

4. Gost - He has now missed makeable kicks in back to back to back SBs. His contract is up this year. While I don't think they should move this HAS to change how you look at him. Yes. The other kicker missed one too but he had a gimpy plant leg. Frankly speaking you can't go into another SB with Gost and be afraid to try anything over 50 or just accepting you will miss one or two kicks. Generally speaking you can't keep taking points off the board vs the best competition in the NFL. It bit them last year. Not this year or in 16'. If they go again with Gost it may bit them that time. Something to think about.

5. Beware the peaking team - The Saints and Rams were on a downward trend and the Pats were on an upward one. Any Saints fan looking at this game and believing they would have won is wrong. They were not the same team they were weeks ago and neither were the Rams. The Saints wree frankly lucky to get by the Eagles and failed to beat the equally struggling Rams. The Pats would have beat them too. This team was peaking at the right time and people in the media ignored it. Like the ignore the Giants and the Ravens in 2012 and other peaking team. We need to remember these kind of teams are the most dangerous. During next years playoffs I will need to give this factor more weight.

6. Defense going into 2019 - The priority is to keep the key parts of the unit together for next year right now. Maybe Gronks walks and maybe not. You can't control that. In any case after what this unit did this year I don't want to mess with it too much. Every year we see the Pats revamp core parts of this unit, extend the preseason into the regular season, install and practice the more complex plays after thanksgiving and hope it is working and attack by the playoffs. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Wouldn't it be nice to go into next year not having to worry about teaching a bunch of new people the scheme, hope to build chemistry with a number key players and just hit the ground running? I think they would be nice. It doesn't mean you need to keep everyone. But I think Flowers and the McCourty bros need to be a priority. It doesn't mean we need to pay Devin 14M cause frankly he isn't worth that. But keep him happy and here and try to keep the core of this unit together one more year.

7. Edelman - He is a HOFer. You play the game to win championships and the guy absolutely is one of the top options I want on my team for that. The thing about Jules is he doesn't abuse the bad teams as much as a Julio Jones would, but he can get work done vs any defense and be a key playmakrer Doesn't matter the scheme or talent he is up against. Unless you literally don't give a QB time to throw he will get a bunch of yards on you. He is an unstoppable force in these games. Denver has come the closest in 15' but most of that had to do with Brady not having time, not Edelman being unable to get open in a reasonable amount of time.
Bob D....lots of great points worthy of discussion...

1) Given NE/BB's lack of scoring early in every SB, I view this as a combination of:
-Playing a quality team
-Probing the opposition D
-Playing conservatively
-Waiting to capitalize on a mistake
-And getting the opposition's best/most creative schemes after 2 weeks of targeted practices.

2) Too harsh on Cooks...he had a great game. Was open most of the night, made catches when he was able. Not his fault ball was late at the goal post. And lets be very honest, Gilmore was yanking on his left arm just before the ball reached him on the other end zone incompletion.
Cooks is a BB type receiver-quick cuts/wins separation easily. BB's biggest issue was most likely the large salary he would command.
Prior to inspecting the stat sheet, I would have labelled Woods invisible. His 5 catch/70 yds did not register one iota in my memory bank.

3) LA's 35 yd punts with 25 yds of roll were frustrating. If Edelman hadn't nearly cost NE with his phantom touch/scoop attempt vs KC, Julian may have been more aggressive on the bouncing punts from LA....but he was more about clearing NE players away from the rolling punt.

4) Ghost is fine but he certainly doesn't have BB's unlimited faith. It will be interesting what kind of contract he accepts in the offseason. His elite kickoff skills- boomers and placement-seem to have less value given the evolving rules. His above average but not elite FG % will keep him near or in the top tier $$$$. NE has to worry about ambitious teams with horrendous kickers offering Ghost crazy money.
Maybe something to watch, BB drafted Ghost very high in a year when NE had surplus middle rounders to spare ...like this year. We'll see. At some point for BB, a rookie kicker's contract might be just too appealing. Then again, the long EP requires a bonafide kicker.

5) So true about peaking teams. Regarding KC, I'll add that Andy Reid opened his offensive play book in week 1 and never took his foot off the gas. LA came out of the gate like gang busters as well. Showing your hand too early and giving the league 4 months to process....vs......Bill the Builder who adds layers to his foundation. NFL Peak Theory- never more true

6) I have mixed feelings about the McCourty Bros. DM was overpaid because he had leverage over NE, a team with no plan B. Still feels that way but my hunch is DM will remain a Patriot for life on a slightly lower contract. His brother might have a more difficult time getting NE to pony up simply because NE's secondary will likely have 2 big salaries once again and not everyone gets paid.

7) The HOF once honored players for sustained championship success without huge regular season stats (see Steelers).
And then there is NE......9 SB appearances in 18 years with little presence in the HOF. Just amazing.
I was baffled by the talk last month that Phillip Rivers deserves enshrinement for an above average career with no real accomplishment and concluded that the HOF does not deserve my attention.
Edelman and Gronk have been the most important Pats playmakers during this latest historic run and it can be easily argued Edelman, not the oft injured Gronk, is the most important piece after Brady. He may not break off 75 yard TDs vs 2-14 teams in meaningless games. He's just the man during the most crucial games. No value in that.
Let the bad teams draft elite primadonnas at the top of the 1st round and lets hope these horribly run teams continue to open the vaults for these players who touch the ball 6 times on a good day. Let their desperate fans have their feel good moment walking into the HOF to view the bust of their overdrafted, overpaid, trophyless WR.
JE ...just keep moving the chains and dominating on 3rd down. There's hope. If the Baseball HOF is now electing Designated Hitters, I want to believe common sense will take hold and honor elite slot WRs who are the ultimate winners. You are a star of stars ever January and Feruary but you don't fit the talking heads preconceived molds....yet.
Tack on a few more years and I believe you will be in business.
 
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SEA_Pat

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
It strikes me after listening to and reading a lot of analysis, that everyone's talked about BB's making everyone play left-handed and taking away the biggest advantage that the other team has. Yeah, we all know.

But nobody has identified that this was exactly what he did with McVay's Offensive Plan, which was the single biggest weapon they had. His offense was very dependent on his memory and intensive film study providing a basis for the offensive game design and play calling. So BB went completely against his tendencies to give him nothing to go on. They took away the safety blanket of McVay's knowing what would work and forced a young Goff into having to make difficult decisions under pressure.
 

goheels22002

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This one is going to be structure less. Just some disorganized observations that will help me digest what I just saw.

1. A family emergency caused me to miss the first half, and I'm sure that was one of the reasons my blood pressure remained so low. After looking at the stats and hearing about that first half, I image it must have been extremely frustrating, especially given how well the defense was playing.

2. I knew about the Brady pick, which after I saw a replay of it, wasn't as horrible as I thought. Coleman made a nice play on the ball, it gets deflected, and unfortunately falls right to the wrong guy. Deflections like that are usually what happens to the winning team. You just got to have them.

When the CJ Williams fumble just barely squeezed out of bounds before a Patriot could recover it, I got a bad feeling. Reminded me of the 2011 Superbowl, when the Giants fumbled 4 times and the only one we fell on was negated by a penalty. Usually fumbles are 50-50 affairs. THAT game would have changed if those odds had born out in 2011.

I thought before the game that we had pretty much gone the playoffs WITHOUT doing much in the TO battle. You don't often win playoff games losing the TO battle -2. like in KC. I had hoped that THIS game would mark a significant change. Instead right at the start of the game the Rams get a deflection TO when we were in FG range, and 2 plays later, Hightower makes a great move jumping a route, and drops the ball. Again, not a good trend.

3. I know how frustrated you guys must have been watching it because in the brief moments that I could catch some of the game on Radio, Zolak was getting really frustrated on the way the offense was going, making complaints about BOTH Brady and McDaniels.

4. In the end, much to my surprise (again) both the AFCCG and the Superbowl were games that the Pats should have won much more convincingly, but shot themselves in the foot enough times that they allowed the opponent to either stay in the game or get back into it. That is NOT usually a recipe for success when you are playing the best teams in the league.

5. OK raise your hand if you had 13-3 in the pool? :D Wow, what a slug fest. I was really impressed with the Rams DL. Michael Brockers doesn't get much national pub, but he made a number of significant plays for the Rams in this game. Granted they only had the one sack and 4 QB hits, but they definitely made Brady "feel" them for most of the night.

6. That being said, if you had told me the Pats would have 155 yds rushing, I would have expected the Pats to have won in a romp. Then again if you had told me the Pats would have 12 first downs in the first half to 2 for the Rams, I wouldn't expect the score to be 3-0 midway through the game.

7. The offense WAS moving the ball over the first 3 quarters, but never with anything like the consistency they did in the TD drive in the 4th quarter. It was about the only time the offense seemed to have had any kind of rhythm at all.

8. Speaking of that last TD drive. Brady has been to 9 superbowls and in EIGHT of them he has led his team to 4th Quarter drives that either won the game (in 6 occasions) or put his team ahead, only to have the defense fail to hold the lead. (sadly twice)

9. IIRC the Pats D was 7th in the league in points allowed, which is pretty good. But that being said, we NEVER saw the kind of pressure put on opposing QB's during the regular season that we witnessed over the course of these 3 playoff games.

I mean every was worried about Tom Brady's heath against their all star DL, while the no names not only sacked Goff 4 times, they got TWELVE hits on him. That was against an OL that allowed the fewest sacks in the regular season It was AWESOME. Not only that, the DL held the Rams to just 55 rushing yards, and literally half the 34 yards Todd Gurley managed came on a 16 yd run that looked like the Pats had covered at the hole, but a nice cutback by Gurley to go along with the backside over running the play allowed for the run. If not for that run, Gurley, one of the top RB's in the game would have averaged UNDER 2 yds per carry. :eek:

10. I was surprised to see that Brandon Gooks had 120 yds receiving. Pretty impressive since he was covered so closely all night. Most of the receptions he DID have required a really good throw and catch to make it happen. The only time I remember seeing him with any real space was when there was a bust and he was wide open in the endzone. Fortunately Jason McCourty came out of no where to make the play of the game.

11. BTW - Goff had a "respectable" 223 passing yard, but remember about 50 of them came in the complete garbage time of the last drive of the game. CBS did a great job of showing us how often the Pats had everyone covered. It sometime looked like the DB's and LBs knew the routes better than the receivers.

12. I was a bit worried with Chung went down, but we REALLY have a lot of quality depth in our secondary which is only going to get better next year with Jackson having a year under his belt and a healthy Duke Dawson joining JJones in a very talented deep secondary. (and no I don't believe Devon is retiring, though I wouldn't shock me if his brother did.

13. The Pats have gone through stretches during this run where they have been crushed by injuries. Imagine the kind of Game Brady would have had against the Eagles if Edelman was healthy and Cooks had played more than a quarter of the game. But THIS season might have been the best I can recall in the area of injuries.

14. I waited all year to see HIghtower make a real impact on the defense and earn that big money. Tonight he earned every penny.

15. I have to say that I was more impressed with Sony Michel in THIS game than I have been in any previous game, even when he put up more yds. The Rams front seven pretty much neutralized BOTH the Dallas and Saints running game in their 2 previous playoff games. Tonight Sony averaged 5.2 ypc on 18 carries. And these were HARD yards.

In previous posts I commented that Michel doesn't impress you as big back, or a quick back like Deion Lewis, who makes people miss. But what I noticed and it was confirmed tonight was that Michel finds the hole. To me he doesn't have first round size, power, or elusiveness. But what he DOES have is first round "eyes". He is EXCELLENT at finding the hole and maximizing whatever yards are there. I think next season we will see him integrated more in the passing game and he will become even more valuable.

16. I think we have seen the last game here for Hogan, Claybourn, and Shelton. I actually see Gronk coming back, though it wouldn't surprise if he hangs it up. At best we keep Flowers or Brown, not both. It will be interesting on who they end up choosing to keep. If you could only keep one, who would YOU pick?

17. Miguel has the Pats roughly at $20MM under the cap. I can see another $15MM or so added to that number before FA. That's not a lot of room compared to some teams, but enough to begin building next year's group.

18. With 12 picks currently, this can be a seminal year for the Pats in the draft, much like 2010 was in building this latest iteration. I can see a significantly rebuilt WR group.

19 Amazing, but Tuesday's parade will mark the TWELVETH such event for the City of Boston since 2001. I can't imagine how the city is managing they current drought of about 100 DAYS. ;) Talk about being spoiled. Its like EVERY year, EVERY major sport is either winning a championship of competing for one in the playoffs. I know I have lost any perspective of what it must be like to live somewhere OTHER than the greater Boston area.

20. The fans at the game in Atlanta were LOUD. I mean, affecting the other team loud. You don't see that happening much in Superbowls. Very impressive.

You know for a team that everyone else in the country is supposed to hate, we have a LOT of fans across the country. Tom Brady's shirt is almost always one of the top 10 best sellers. I mean, think about it. Everyone has had 18 years to buy their Brady shirt. You would think that everyone who wanted one would have it already....years ago. Yet every year Brady is one of the best sellers. Maybe the haters are buying his shirt to throw Darts at. ;).

21. I hope there is a rewatch thread. I'd like to figure out just what the Rams were doing to disrupt the Pats early one, AND investigate what the Pats did to shut down the Rams so completely.

22. After watching that game, I have a feeling Miami fans are VERY excited to see Brian Flores coming to town. I just wish Romo mentioned his importance to the defense strategy more. I also wish we had another year or two of him being the DC.

23. Always love to read what the draftnicks have to say about the Pats prospect. But I have to say that because the Pats are always picking so low it takes away from the draft because you know that so few of the players that will get talked about, will NEVER reach the Pats. Though this year (as last) it will be interesting to try and figure out which QB prospect the Pats will bring in.

OK. I hit the 2am limit, Congratulations to us all. What an amazing run that shows no signs of slowing down. What a privilege to be a fan of this team, and in a community of people like yourselves.

Good work for somebody who retired from doing these post-game analyses. A couple of items:

1) The Rams lost this game as much as the Patriots beat them. The Rams scheme all season was that tight formation on offense with little to no gaps between the linemen and the receiving corps. That worked great when Todd Gurley could build up speed and bounce wide inside or outside the Tackle and get 6 to 10 yards consistently. Well he couldn't, even though he flashed for a moment in the 4th quarter. By lining up that way, the Patriots defense was compressed in a smaller space making it possible to run the "46" defense with Hightower calling the shots as the sole linebacker. He was great at calling plays based on the Rams alignment. He was, for a day, Mike Singletary.

2) The Rams had two good receivers, no tight ends to speak of, and a running game that didn't adjust to anything. McVeigh might have just as easily tied Goff's arms behind his back. The Patriots defense was excellent, but that was the least well-conceived offense I've ever seen in the playoffs. No wonder the punter was their MVP.

3) The Patriots commitment to Hogan - 6 targets, 0 receptions - actually kept a corner and a safety out of the flat all game. Watch the replays and you'll see the Rams secondary starting to crowd the line. When that happened, Josh would call a deep ball to Hogan to keep them honest. Hogan doesn't have the speed to break free on his own, but he was running post and fly patterns that Cooks ran last year, and it kept the defense honest opening up a bunch of things for Edelman and Gronk.

4) Where was James White? I don't get the decision to play him so little. Maybe it was the sheer size of the pass rushers. But he is so clutch. I want to watch the game again to see if there is a clue there.

5) I hope they re-sign Flowers, although he sounded like he's gone after the game. He is so quick and instinctive. It would have been great to have Sheard on this team as well.

13-3
 
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goheels22002

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
It strikes me after listening to and reading a lot of analysis, that everyone's talked about BB's making everyone play left-handed and taking away the biggest advantage that the other team has. Yeah, we all know.

But nobody has identified that this was exactly what he did with McVay's Offensive Plan, which was the single biggest weapon they had. His offense was very dependent on his memory and intensive film study providing a basis for the offensive game design and play calling. So BB went completely against his tendencies to give him nothing to go on. They took away the safety blanket of McVay's knowing what would work and forced a young Goff into having to make difficult decisions under pressure.

Belichick and Flores installed a zone defense into which Goff threw 11 INTs during the regular season as compared to 1 INT vs a man defense. It was a variation of Buddy Ryan's "46" with Hightower in the Mike Singletary role. The secondary was in a different look from play to play. Cover 0, Cover 2, Cover 3. Lots more zone than usual. The lined up 4 rushers over the linemen and a safety and linebacker on the edges. Goff didn't know what he was looking at. Without Todd Gurley to gash the edge of the defense, the Patriots could rush four or five from different angles with pressure up the middle on most plays to keep that line busy.

Sean Payton and Drew Brees would have picked that defense apart, by the way. They would have understood what they were seeing and used backs and tight ends underneath wherever the rusher left a whole in the zone. They would have run the ball a lot more at Hightower whenever he was lined up as the sole LB.
 

PF_SU

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Sean Payton and Drew Brees would have picked that defense apart, by the way. They would have understood what they were seeing and used backs and tight ends underneath wherever the rusher left a whole in the zone. They would have run the ball a lot more at Hightower whenever he was lined up as the sole LB.
I doubt the Patriots would have used the same game plan against the Saints.
 

mosslost

Pro Bowl Player
This one is going to be structure less. Just some disorganized observations that will help me digest what I just saw.

1. A family emergency caused me to miss the first half, and I'm sure that was one of the reasons my blood pressure remained so low. After looking at the stats and hearing about that first half, I image it must have been extremely frustrating, especially given how well the defense was playing.

2. I knew about the Brady pick, which after I saw a replay of it, wasn't as horrible as I thought. Coleman made a nice play on the ball, it gets deflected, and unfortunately falls right to the wrong guy. Deflections like that are usually what happens to the winning team. You just got to have them.

When the CJ Williams fumble just barely squeezed out of bounds before a Patriot could recover it, I got a bad feeling. Reminded me of the 2011 Superbowl, when the Giants fumbled 4 times and the only one we fell on was negated by a penalty. Usually fumbles are 50-50 affairs. THAT game would have changed if those odds had born out in 2011.

I thought before the game that we had pretty much gone the playoffs WITHOUT doing much in the TO battle. You don't often win playoff games losing the TO battle -2. like in KC. I had hoped that THIS game would mark a significant change. Instead right at the start of the game the Rams get a deflection TO when we were in FG range, and 2 plays later, Hightower makes a great move jumping a route, and drops the ball. Again, not a good trend.

3. I know how frustrated you guys must have been watching it because in the brief moments that I could catch some of the game on Radio, Zolak was getting really frustrated on the way the offense was going, making complaints about BOTH Brady and McDaniels.

4. In the end, much to my surprise (again) both the AFCCG and the Superbowl were games that the Pats should have won much more convincingly, but shot themselves in the foot enough times that they allowed the opponent to either stay in the game or get back into it. That is NOT usually a recipe for success when you are playing the best teams in the league.

5. OK raise your hand if you had 13-3 in the pool? :D Wow, what a slug fest. I was really impressed with the Rams DL. Michael Brockers doesn't get much national pub, but he made a number of significant plays for the Rams in this game. Granted they only had the one sack and 4 QB hits, but they definitely made Brady "feel" them for most of the night.

6. That being said, if you had told me the Pats would have 155 yds rushing, I would have expected the Pats to have won in a romp. Then again if you had told me the Pats would have 12 first downs in the first half to 2 for the Rams, I wouldn't expect the score to be 3-0 midway through the game.

7. The offense WAS moving the ball over the first 3 quarters, but never with anything like the consistency they did in the TD drive in the 4th quarter. It was about the only time the offense seemed to have had any kind of rhythm at all.

8. Speaking of that last TD drive. Brady has been to 9 superbowls and in EIGHT of them he has led his team to 4th Quarter drives that either won the game (in 6 occasions) or put his team ahead, only to have the defense fail to hold the lead. (sadly twice)

9. IIRC the Pats D was 7th in the league in points allowed, which is pretty good. But that being said, we NEVER saw the kind of pressure put on opposing QB's during the regular season that we witnessed over the course of these 3 playoff games.

I mean every was worried about Tom Brady's heath against their all star DL, while the no names not only sacked Goff 4 times, they got TWELVE hits on him. That was against an OL that allowed the fewest sacks in the regular season It was AWESOME. Not only that, the DL held the Rams to just 55 rushing yards, and literally half the 34 yards Todd Gurley managed came on a 16 yd run that looked like the Pats had covered at the hole, but a nice cutback by Gurley to go along with the backside over running the play allowed for the run. If not for that run, Gurley, one of the top RB's in the game would have averaged UNDER 2 yds per carry. :eek:

10. I was surprised to see that Brandon Gooks had 120 yds receiving. Pretty impressive since he was covered so closely all night. Most of the receptions he DID have required a really good throw and catch to make it happen. The only time I remember seeing him with any real space was when there was a bust and he was wide open in the endzone. Fortunately Jason McCourty came out of no where to make the play of the game.

11. BTW - Goff had a "respectable" 223 passing yard, but remember about 50 of them came in the complete garbage time of the last drive of the game. CBS did a great job of showing us how often the Pats had everyone covered. It sometime looked like the DB's and LBs knew the routes better than the receivers.

12. I was a bit worried with Chung went down, but we REALLY have a lot of quality depth in our secondary which is only going to get better next year with Jackson having a year under his belt and a healthy Duke Dawson joining JJones in a very talented deep secondary. (and no I don't believe Devon is retiring, though I wouldn't shock me if his brother did.

13. The Pats have gone through stretches during this run where they have been crushed by injuries. Imagine the kind of Game Brady would have had against the Eagles if Edelman was healthy and Cooks had played more than a quarter of the game. But THIS season might have been the best I can recall in the area of injuries.

14. I waited all year to see HIghtower make a real impact on the defense and earn that big money. Tonight he earned every penny.

15. I have to say that I was more impressed with Sony Michel in THIS game than I have been in any previous game, even when he put up more yds. The Rams front seven pretty much neutralized BOTH the Dallas and Saints running game in their 2 previous playoff games. Tonight Sony averaged 5.2 ypc on 18 carries. And these were HARD yards.

In previous posts I commented that Michel doesn't impress you as big back, or a quick back like Deion Lewis, who makes people miss. But what I noticed and it was confirmed tonight was that Michel finds the hole. To me he doesn't have first round size, power, or elusiveness. But what he DOES have is first round "eyes". He is EXCELLENT at finding the hole and maximizing whatever yards are there. I think next season we will see him integrated more in the passing game and he will become even more valuable.

16. I think we have seen the last game here for Hogan, Claybourn, and Shelton. I actually see Gronk coming back, though it wouldn't surprise if he hangs it up. At best we keep Flowers or Brown, not both. It will be interesting on who they end up choosing to keep. If you could only keep one, who would YOU pick?

17. Miguel has the Pats roughly at $20MM under the cap. I can see another $15MM or so added to that number before FA. That's not a lot of room compared to some teams, but enough to begin building next year's group.

18. With 12 picks currently, this can be a seminal year for the Pats in the draft, much like 2010 was in building this latest iteration. I can see a significantly rebuilt WR group.

19 Amazing, but Tuesday's parade will mark the TWELVETH such event for the City of Boston since 2001. I can't imagine how the city is managing they current drought of about 100 DAYS. ;) Talk about being spoiled. Its like EVERY year, EVERY major sport is either winning a championship of competing for one in the playoffs. I know I have lost any perspective of what it must be like to live somewhere OTHER than the greater Boston area.

20. The fans at the game in Atlanta were LOUD. I mean, affecting the other team loud. You don't see that happening much in Superbowls. Very impressive.

You know for a team that everyone else in the country is supposed to hate, we have a LOT of fans across the country. Tom Brady's shirt is almost always one of the top 10 best sellers. I mean, think about it. Everyone has had 18 years to buy their Brady shirt. You would think that everyone who wanted one would have it already....years ago. Yet every year Brady is one of the best sellers. Maybe the haters are buying his shirt to throw Darts at. ;).

21. I hope there is a rewatch thread. I'd like to figure out just what the Rams were doing to disrupt the Pats early one, AND investigate what the Pats did to shut down the Rams so completely.

22. After watching that game, I have a feeling Miami fans are VERY excited to see Brian Flores coming to town. I just wish Romo mentioned his importance to the defense strategy more. I also wish we had another year or two of him being the DC.

23. Always love to read what the draftnicks have to say about the Pats prospect. But I have to say that because the Pats are always picking so low it takes away from the draft because you know that so few of the players that will get talked about, will NEVER reach the Pats. Though this year (as last) it will be interesting to try and figure out which QB prospect the Pats will bring in.

OK. I hit the 2am limit, Congratulations to us all. What an amazing run that shows no signs of slowing down. What a privilege to be a fan of this team, and in a community of people like yourselves.

Structured less? This practically a Manifesto... just kidding

Is the readership back up?
 

slam

In the Starting Line-Up
I doubt the Patriots would have used the same game plan against the Saints.
Against the Saints I think the Pats would have triple-teamed Michael Thomas and dared Brees to throw deep to everyone else.
 
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