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Idle thoughts - The "on to Atlanta" edition.

2021 Patriots Season:
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Nov 28th

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1960Pats

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2. Receivers.

a Hogan - after 190 yds (10 more than Julio Jones, btw), there will be a lot of talk and threads about Hogan's game, so I will leave it to others to talk about it in depth. Suffice it to say it was F*CKING AWESOME. ;)

b. Edelman didn't have the highlight real plays, but I thought he had a super game. His YAC was extraordinary. He broke a lot of tackles and made a lot of people miss.

c. Danny had 2 catches and both were for first downs. It's what he's done all year. He doesn't get a lot of targets, but most are impactful

d. Mitchell had a bad drop that ended the Pats first drive, but Edelman and Hogan, also had drops. He had another target on a third down throw that couldn't have been more than an inch out of bounds.

e. Bennett - Nice that he got 5 catches, but I would like to see him get more targets down field, out wide, and in the red zone. I know he reportedly has the cracked ankle bone, but you couldn't tell from his dancing after the game.

f. Floyd - A bit disappointed in that Floyd didn't play and get some targets, as I see him posing some Gronk like match up problems for teams. But, BB in his post game presser, talked about how long it took to get late arrivals like Rowe and Van Noy settled to the point where they could be effective. Maybe we were overly optimistic just how much Floyd would be able to accomplish in just a month, playing a position that is much harder to absorb than DB, or LB

When I go to games I enjoy watching the receivers. It's something we can't do watching on the boob tube.

a) On the flea flicker to Hogan, as soon as I saw Blount turn around I started scanning the field to see what the receivers were doing. And there was Hogan coming straight at us with a step or two on the db. The moment I saw it I yelled "he's got him" and watched as Brady dropped one right on the money. It was a thing of beauty.

b) JE really is an incredible talent. He manages to squeeze out yards in ways that border on impossible.

c) Danny Amendola, the guy that people want to dump each year, has proven how clutch he is in some of the biggest games. Luckily, before the game I entered a raffle and won a couple of prizes, one of which was a very nice framed autographed picture of DA. So there's that.

d) Mitchel is going to really break out soon. Hopefully in a couple of weeks.

e) I'm looking at Bennet's pom pom dance as a good sign concerning his ankle injury. It can't be too bad if he can bounce around like that. His lap around the field and the fans reaction to it gave me goose bumps.

f) Floyd is another one of those veteran guys who has come here and needs to grasp the offense. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
 

IllegalContact

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Branch - it was clear that Branch was prepared for this game......after committing to a gap and allowing yardage to be given up on a couple of runs on the first down, he simply stood his OL up and covered both gaps.....and seemed to not even have to work hard to do it.....DL patience was exactly what I was talking about last week.....Bell's patience is pretty effective in a 1 gap scheme, but is pretty ineffective in 2 gap schemes.

Bennett - it appears to me that the Pats are prioritizing his mere presence on the field more highly than his productivity.......without him on the field, it changes defensive accountability. In short, they are conserving him I believe as I think his injuries are enough to warrant it.I think he will get more looks in 2 weeks because it's the SB and there's nothing else to save him for.

Hogan - the steelers defense simply could not account for him...

Pass Rush - for the most part, they were dropping 8 into coverage once Bell was out

Coverage - Chasing Brown around the field was a good warmup for Jones...in general, the steelers offense was a good prep game for atlanta


In general, I like how the Pats match up against the Falcons
 

1960Pats

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I haven't had time to read through the whole thread, but I thought the offensive game plan was brilliant. First, we elect to receive the ball after winning the toss, going against everything the Pats have done since you were allowed to defer your choice to the 2nd half. Then we come out in the "no huddle" for the first three drives, with the obvious intent to get up early (and take Bell out of the game as an option, but that happened for us anyway), and wear them out fast. Then once we score a few times, we put in some razzle dazzle and burn them again! I was over at the Steelers board and they are lamenting that the Steelers played zone defense the entire time (which apparently they've done against the Pats for a long time with similar results) and never changed it up after repeatedly having receivers run free in the secondary.

They also thought the Brady sneak was a fumble and the refs' screw job took away a game-changing play. Huh? At the game as soon as we saw the replay (ball came out as Brady's elbow AND knee hit the ground, AND he and another Patriot fell on the ball first) we started thanking Mike Tomlin for wasting a time out. Just goes to show how each fan base wears homer-colored glasses when it comes to the refs. I appreciated the refs "just letting them play" rather than throwing a 1000 yellow flags.

Great crowd noise last night and great win by our team!!

I'm still hoarse this morning. The fans in section 120 were great. It was one of the greatest games I've ever seen.

I loved how the yellow crying towels petered out as the game went on.
 

PatsDeb

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It was loud. Games like that put the "acoustics" argument to rest unless the stadium somehow defies physics from time to time. The crowd sounded awesome.

The RB's didn't have much of an impact in the passing game because Pittsburgh is actually pretty athletic at the LB position, Ken. Expect the same in the Super Bowl as all of Atlanta's LB's can cover. They actually may have the most athletic LB corps in the entire league. The Pats will instead "get big" and smash them with the running game, particularly if Hageman's injury is a nagging one that is still affecting him in two weeks.
One thing related to the crowd noise - instead of remaining silent during the many and long tv commercial breaks, the PA system continuously blared catchy, sing-able tunes, the best one being "Livin' On A Prayer" which Jon Bon Jovi sang along with from his box (sitting next to Gronk, all shown on the Jumbotron). This helped with sustaining the crowd noise, as people did not have to continuously yell, and maintain a huge noise level, 100% of the time. They blasted the foghorn on every play, rather than just on 3rd down, which always gets the crowd going. Some things to think about for the Pats next year.
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
b. the GL stand at the end of the first half was game changing. First and goal at the one foot line is coverted over 95% of the time. You might have a small shot say at the 2 or 3 yd line, but ONE foot? Valentine's play was game changing.


Well, Pats certainly made a habit of defending the goal line from 1yd 1st down. And made one SB out of it. This is where BB's insistence on “meat“ in the middle and depth at NT (incl. consistent high picks - 2 1st and 1 3rd in last 3 years) plus LB/S strength and versatility comes into play. F.e. “undersized“ Elandon Roberts is much more effective in this situations than super athletic CJ and Collins. Guys like Chung and Ebner as well.

And my binkie Vincent only proved once more that he can be a huge upgrade on Easley with some Vince (W) on the bottom of things. If he keeps this going and improves normally with time .. he will be seen as the steal of the 2016 draft class..
_

To me though, as said before, the game changing play was from Harmon before the goal line D. It was the most anxious moment of the night for me waiting/hoping/expecting the call for a TD to be overruled .. because I sort of knew (seeing flashes of goal line stand vs CIN game and [email protected] struggles) the D will defend the line..



05742972.jpg


Most guys in NFL don't make this play simply beacuse they don't SEE it possible. Harmon has this to say about it:
_


Incredible moment .. Butler like .. that Ill never forget.
-
 

The Gr8est

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Regarding the Pats run defense, since the NFL* is a copy cat league, did the Pats give a blueprint to the rest of the league and show teams, who have enough discipline, how to stop runners like Leveon Bell?

I'm thinking the Pats run defense will be able to stop the Falcons RBs and force Ryan to try and beat them.

Where has the Pats defensive line stunts that we saw for 1.5 games, against Denver and Baltimore, to such gr8 effect? Do we see it in two weeks vs Atlanta? It might be difficult to defense for Atlanta since there is so little game film on it, or an observed tendency for the Pats to use it?

Malcolm Mitchell or Michael Floyd? Neither impressed in their last games when they were active. Now they have another two week layoff. Might be good for Mitchell with more rest for his knee although more rust isn't ideal.

Floyd would be gr8 if he could give the Pats an effort like he did against Miami. Can he carve a role out for himself in the next two weeks?
 

Minitron

On the Game Day Roster
I hope it somehow happens and they can resign all of their defensive UDFA.
Also i think Mitchell will catch 5+ in the Super Bowl. He clearly was shaking off rust today and if he would have played last week, he would have caught these 2 dropped passes.
 

Dagg

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Great post as always Ken. Some of your point I wanted to emphasize.

The refs were great overall. I also would like to see Bennett on some seam routes but if hes hurt the maybe Floyd.

I was also a bit down on the run game overall but they did protect very well. That said Im not a fan of running on first down. Would like to see much more PA and then maybe a run on 2nd. Seemed more of a game plan thing overall IMO.

I think it was actuayl Thuney (62?) that was beat vs Andrews for that early sack.

Special teams played great especially Jones he was all over the place!
 

Bill Lee

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Mitchell had a bad drop that ended the Pats first drive, but Edelman and Hogan, also had drops.
Sorry, but after watching the replays I think that Hogan drop really was about Brady throwing behind Hogan. I think Brady's reaction proves it. Tom was visibly disappointed, and he usually only reacts that way when he misses a throw.

Maybe we were overly optimistic just how much Floyd would be able to accomplish in just a month, playing a position that is much harder to absorb than DB, or LB
MF must be unhappy, though, after cramming for weeks and then getting sat down so Mitchell can play. Makes me wonder how likely he is to play here next year.

RB - Actually I think you have to be disappointed in this group's production, as neither White or Lewis had much impact in the passing game, and none of the RB's had any impact in the running game.
That's because there were so much easier pickings in the passing game.

Maybe I'm over thinking this, but it seems to me that Lewis doesn't have that explosive acceleration that mesmerized us early in 2015, either in the passing OR run games. I'm hoping its the old, "you don't fully recover from ACL's until the 2nd year" thing.
I agree. He still has acceleration in the open field but it's not that instant on/off thing we saw before the injury.

Did you ever see a game where Brady had so many wide open receivers.
I was wondering if the PIT defense was wearing glasses that made Hogan invisible to them.

the GL stand at the end of the first half was game changing. First and goal at the one foot line is coverted over 95% of the time. You might have a small shot say at the 2 or 3 yd line, but ONE foot? Valentine's play was game changing.
Agree.

DB's Solid games all around with very few exceptions. What this defensive secondary does so well is tackle and limit the number of 2o+ yd gains. They constantly forced Rothlessberger to make good passes in order to make completions downfield. Sometimes he was really close making really difficult throws, but in the end the secondary was forcing them to make great catches
Ben is a very good QB, and Ryan is probably a bit better, but both of them aren't Aaron Rodgers when he's hot. I think we dodged a bit of a bullet by not seeing Rodgers, because when he's hot, he's insane. Of course we'd shred GB's defense, but I'm still happier facing ATL.

This group is the real strength of this defense. It will be interesting to watch how it fairs against what is the best offense in the league.
Makes me think of the years where we went to the SB with Otis Freaking Smith and/or Troy Brown in the secondary. I'm far happier this year with this secondary.

This is where I have to make the obligatory, "we have met a quality QB, he had a good game, and his team STILL could score more than 17 points" remark.
And PIT's last TD was in garbage time.

Someone please find "dur Fuhrer" this week. I'm sure there will be one, and I need to see it.
Yep, me too. Probably best to check the Pats reddit ( The New England Patriots • /r/Patriots ) from time to time.

It is my fondest wish we have this ref crew for the superbowl. NO penalties in the first half, and just 5 for 29 yds for BOTH teams.
Incredibly wonderful to see a game that didn't stop every other play. Game flew by, relatively speaking.

There is something wrong with a society that will root for Atlanta simply because they are "tired" of seen the Pats in the superbowl, but I guess it's true.
Fantasy football has won out. The 'average' fan will see Julio Jones on ATL and decide that ATL will win because of him. They won't notice that the Pats D is #1 in points allowed (beating the 2nd team by 3 points!) and ATL is 27th.
 

long distance

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I'm worried about andrews for next year...


He gets badly beaten at times . but brings “luck“ . somehow the Pats are 26-2 with him starting (if i'm not mistaken). Only Lewis and Bruschi (as honorary captain) w better record..

They love him but will bring in competition for the spot for sure. Not too much in FA but probably draft, possibly even trade, depending how they view Karras..
 

pencilneckgeek

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Nice write-up, Ken. I'm already thinking about ATL, but it's good to take a day or two to revel in the Pats' success so far this year.

I was also a bit down on the run game overall but they did protect very well. That said Im not a fan of running on first down. Would like to see much more PA and then maybe a run on 2nd. Seemed more of a game plan thing overall IMO.

I think it was actuayl Thuney (62?) that was beat vs Andrews for that early sack.

I had the same thought about running on first down, but you need to run the ball to mix it up sometime, and when your pass plays are going for 10+ that much of the time, you're going to have to bust out the first down run more often than you might like. On instinct, I'd like to see more play action on first down and more runs on 2nd and 7, but I'm not convinced that the delay run in a passing situation has the same effect of wearing down the defense as the more straightforward power runs do. Regardless, the fact is that the Steelers were stout enough to stop the run with two big bodies inside, strong linebackers and safeties crashing down. There were a couple runs early, where an interior lineman worked a brief double-team block before disengaging and heading to the second level to block Shazier, only to have a safety in his way, allowing the LB make the tackle (or vice-versa). I expect the running game to be a much greater factor against the Falcons with Lewis and Blount both contributing heavily.

It was Thuney that was beat for the early sack. Hargrave put a move on him, and when Thuney lunged to recover, he was tossed aside like a bad habit. It didn't bode well at the time, but Thuney settled down and did his job like expected after that. I was pleased with how well Andrews held-up. He got knocked back a step or two a few times, but usually re-established his base and left Brady with enough room to work. Tom displayed some fancy footwork at times to operate in a partially collapsed pocket, but the offense never lost their rhythm due to pressure.
 

Bill Lee

What, me worry?
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When I go to games I enjoy watching the receivers. It's something we can't do watching on the boob tube.

Indeed, but some things came out quite well even on the boob tube:




Ref: My favourite image from last night. • /r/Patriots
 
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