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Idle thoughts- 'The trampling sound you hear is the mediots jumping back on the bandwagon' edition

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patfanken

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Well, this game started with the Pats getting 4o yds of penalties (some of which were actually earned) and was going apoplectic on the game day thread wondering if this was going to be "one of THOSE games". :rolleyes:
I mean Christ, this was Gene Steratore's crew, supposedly the league's best, and we were getting phantom calls (Solder's hold), and then non-calls on obvious holds. It seemed like the offense was gaining yards and yet we were moving backward. It was like, start first and ten, get a penalty, wind up 1st and 20, gain 17 yds and punt. :eek: It seemed that way the entire first quarter. BUT in the end, things did even out and by and large Steratore's crew let the players play and there weren't any more outrageous calls.

But here's the thing. Most of the calls on the Pats WERE technically penalties, but they were also calls that aren't called 90% of the time. It was like the league has been asking the Pats to play at a higher level than everyone else, with calls going against the Pats that AREN'T being called on their opponents, for things that SHOULDN'T be called on anyone. But like I said, while it wasn't perfect, the refs had a much better game after the first period.

I just wish they didn't interject themselves into the flow of the game with calls that often have nothing to do with the success or failure of a play. Years ago that was the way the game was called. I don't blame the refs for this. It's the league that wants them to call everything, and it ends up not only affecting the results of the game. It destroys any flow the game is trying to build up. It is simply not as enjoyable to watch for the audience, and it's showing in the numbers. They really need to look hard at this.

OK, the rant is over. Let's get back to finally seeing a bit of what this team MIGHT become. As a charter memeber of the "we have to have patience" league, I might have a case to crow a bit and throw out an 'I told you so' or two. But Brady in his post-game presser made a great point going back to the Pat's mantra that each game is a separate entity. Sure it was a great game tonight and a perfect example of complimentary football, but next week will be an entirely DIFFERENT set of challenges. New offensive game plan, new defensive game plan, new matchups on both sides of the ball, so what was shown tonight has NO effect on next week's game. So while it was nice they were able to run the ball more than they passed it, it doesn't mean next weeks game will be the same. Nor does it mean the players that played big roles THIS week, will be the playmakers next week.

So while we would all love to think that, "boy, THIS is the kind of defense we all thought we would see at the start of the year", let's see them string a few game just like this one before we anoint them a championship defense as fast as we called them a bad defense every week for the last 6 weeks. ;)

All that being said, this was a great night for this team, and I'm still grinning ear to ear at 2 in the morning knowing I got another couple of hours ahead before I post this. So let's break it down.

1. Offense

a. General thoughts - Not a great night statistically, but certainly the most balanced and efficient attack we've seen all year. Penalties killed any chance for points in the first quarter, but after that, I think they only punted the ball one more time (2 total). So like I said, while it wasn't explosive, it was VERY effective. The best offensive stat I saw was the 7 for 13 third-down completion rate. Anytime you are over 50% on 3rd down is a very good night, and a lot of those 3rd downs were long yardage. Finally the offense didn't end up with any turnovers. When your offense is clean in that area, it makes it much easier to win games.

b. QB- Brady had a quiet but efficient night. With the ground game gaining a season-high 162 yds, he didn't have to carry this team like he often has this season. Brady had 249 passing yds, had a 72% completion percentage, despite 3 bad drops (one each from DA, Hogan, and Cooks). But it wasn't always perfect. He jeopardized our first score with a bad throw into the endzone. That pick was luckily reversed on the PF penalty. (which I think was more for the helmet shot he took than the lateness of it.) He also had another pass that could have been picked. But overall, it was a nice night for Brady. A night he didn't have to be ' "The Tom Brady" for the Pats to win.

b. OL - I saw a stat that said Brady had 2 sacks. Well, one sack was a screw-up and a guy came in clean (I'm guessing Gillislee was the culprit, but I could be wrong). The other was a nice rush by Beasely on a slow developing play action pass. I think once Brady understood that he could step up into the outside rush, the OL ultimately provided him tons of time for the most part. It must have been a great job by the 3 interior guys to allow that to happen. Because you'd think that with both Grady Garrett and D Poe, you'd get a ton of inside rush, but it didn't happen.

But were the OL really shined was in the run game. Nice running by the backs, but they were creating movement. My favorite rush was Brady's sneak for 3 yds. Andrews, Mason, and Thuney allowed Brady to go 2 yds before he was even encountered a Falcon. I LOVED that replay. ;) The OL keeps getting better and that's a good thing. The Chargers have a great 1/2 threat in Bosa and Ingram next week. I think they lead the league in combined sacks by 2 players on the same team.

c. RB's - Great to see Burkhead get a few runs in. The Pats ran the ball for 33 times (not counting the 3 kneel downs) for a very healthy 4.9 ypc. You aren't going to lose many games with kind of average and consistency. Going forward it will be interesting to see how the snaps are divided since all of them have had some success. Dion Lewis continued to lead the pack with 13 carries. I think he's the best runner of the bunch to this point. I wonder if he will get more touches as the season goes on.

d. Receivers- 3 drops weren't good on a day no WR/TE got more than 4 catches. The ball was spread out a bit more tonight. The most impressive pass I saw was the back shoulder to Cooks. That pass takes a lot of timing and practice. If he and Brady can do that route on a consistent basis it will really hurt defenses. With Cook's speed, it would be practically impossible to cover. Usually, you'd want to throw that to a bigger receiver, but the threat of Cook going deep makes this the exception that proves the rule. The comeback is the obvious route to take advantage of Cook's speed threat. The back-shoulder throw adds another pattern that could be even harder to cover. It's also harder to throw.

Hogan continues to impress with another solid if unspectacular game. As teams continue to focus on Gronk and Cooks, big gain opportunities are going to open up for Hogan. I think he's taken a big leap forward in his 2nd season with the team.

BTW- I'm glad the Pats don't target Gronk as much as they could. Without Edelman, his presence is critical to the success of the whole passing game. I don't think will get to the Superbowl this year without him. So I'm fine with other TE's getting more looks and stats.

3. Defense

a. General thoughts - what a great job or doing your job. When you looked at the starting DL (Flowers, AButler, Brown, and Wise), its a little scary when you compare it with other DL's around the league. I mean Wise was a 4th round pick and Butler was a f*cking UDFA. Talk about a group of no-names.

b. Almost every defensive player who spoke to the media raved about the defensive game plan for this week. So kudos need to go out to MattyP and is staff. The Falcons had almost as many yards, more first downs (21-25) than the Pats, and they too only had to punt twice in this game. But on the CRITICAL downs they only converted 2 of 9 third downs, and 1 of 3 fourth downs. If your opponent is only converting 22% of their 3rd down opportunities, you are going to win most of those games. Unlike the start of last week's game, the Pats defense was getting off the field. And that was critical early on when penalties were killing drives in that first quarter. Like most teams, it is a LOT easier to play from ahead, and Atlanta had their opportunity to create a lead in this game, and the defense stoned them.

c. The Pats FINALLY held a passing offense to under 300 yds. Interesting to note that at least 100 of those yds came in garbage time at the end of the half and late into the 4th quarter. So HURRAH, the great Patriot defensive nightmare is over. ;)

d. Front Seven - it was their most coordinated game. They completely stoned the Atlanta run game until late when Brown and Hightower went out with injuries and allowed a few good runs in garbage time. Kyle Van Noy had his best game as a Patriot. It helped that the Pats ran a defense where they covered the interior OL and kept KVN clean to fill gaps and he did it well and was the leading tackler.

e. The LB's have been getting a lot of heat for not covering RB's well. The Falcons have 2 of the best RB threat in the league, and yet those RB's had only 3 catches for 18 yds. Nice job guys.

f. Nice time for Adam Butler to get his first sack. It was a great individual effort. Good to see him starting to grow. I wonder what the story was that got him to be an UDFA. He's big. He's athletic and seems fairly quick. What a find.....among several other finds.

g. The Falcons had more sacks, but it seemed to me that the Pats had more consistent pressure on Ryan over the course of this game. I know the Atlanta DE's forced Brady to step up a lot and will get hurries for their efforts, but in reality, they posed little real threat to Brady as they most often just ran by him. I'll be interested in seeing how the rating sites grade this game. Please be sure to post them in this thread when they come out.

h. Nice to see a David Harris sighting. He got his jersey dirty and played enough to need a shower after the game. ;)

i. Just a caution. Both Malcolm Brown (ankle) and Hightower (shoulder) were forced from the game. I hope Danta isn't going to miss more time, and Brown has been having his best year as a Patriot before going out in the 3rd quarter.

j. Secondary- Everything you could hope for when you are missing 2 of your top CB's for the game. I mean it looked like it would be a massive mismatch on the outside, and yet at no time did it seem like Pats defense wasn't in control. Wide open receivers were rare, and clearly, any "communication" issues were kept at a minimum.

k. After watching 20+ yd completions being a regular feature for our opponents, there was only one such catch (22yds) and I think that came at the end of the half. So if you are looking for reason's why this game turned out so well, you can start here.

l. Johnson Badimosi - I mean WTF. This is a guy who has been in the league since 2012 and has started a grand total of 3 games over those 5 seasons. He's NOT supposed to start 2 games and solidify your secondary. Last week the Jets rarely tested him for some unknown reason, and this week he must have done really well. I have no idea what his actual passing stats are for this game (though he had 7 tackles), but he certainly wasn't a liability.

Its a really cool story about a guy who hung on in this league for 5 seasons as a career special teams guy, and then gets a shot to not only play but START, and seems to be doing a solid job.

m. But here's the disturbing part (for me). Right away the first thing I heard from Felger was, "Gee the Pats played good defense without Gilmore, so he must be the problem. How can your most expensive defensive salary be the problem? Bill screwed up again. yadda yadda yadda". Giardi quickly joined the chorus, and I now know the main topic of the week on sports talk. :rolleyes: BELIEVE ME. The Pats secondary will be even better when Gilmore and Rowe return.

n. Malcom Butler was a beast out there tonight. Troy Brown thinks he's the best CB tackler since Ty Law. He said, '0ther CB's usually just throw a shoulder on a knee and hope for the best, while Butler hits hard, wraps, and hogties his man. I agree. He tackles HARD. He also had his best night in coverage, imho. Julio had great stats (9 for 99 and a TD), but Butler wasn't on him all the time and the TD was closer to a pick than a catch. Jones made another great play ripping the ball out of Butler's hands. Like Rowe last year, Butler was in perfect position.

o. With Butler continuing to round into shape, I think when Rowe and Gilmore get back, the dominant secondary we hoped to have at the start of the season, might eventually become a fact.

4. Special Teams - ANOTHER group that had a great night. The coverage was awesome both on the KO's and punt return. With the FG block, I saw something that I thought I would never see again. What was even more impressive is that it looked like they attacked a flaw they saw on film. Marsh made a great move, got skinny, and made a BIG play. And Gotskowski was 4-4 for the night, so maybe he can keep his job for another week. :rolleyes:
 

patfanken

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5. General thoughts on the game

a. I wish Collingworth would come out and say what he thinks on some of the calls that are made where there are no infractions. He came so close on a couple of calls against the Pats, but stopped just short of calling a spade a spade.

b. I applauded Dan Quinn for going for it on fourth down behind only 7-0 in the first half, in Pats territory. They made it the first time. Not so well after that. It might not have been the right move for many, but it made sense to me. He probably came into the game thinking that, like a lot of people, the game was going to be a shootout. Both the 4th downs he missed were short yardage situations. I'm sure I will be in the minority on this, though in his shoes I might have punted the first time, I can see why he made the move.

c. The good news the Pats offense didn't turn over the ball. The bad news is the defense did GET any TO's. I know shutting down a 4th down is LIKE a TO, but I would REALLY like to see the defense create more TO's. IIRC all the really good Pats teams have been at the top of the league in TO's. The DL is solidifying and the secondary is coming into their own. NOW I would like to see the Pats creating 2 or 3 TO's a game.

d. I saw bits and pieces of the Jets/Miami, Bears/Panthers, and Titans/Browns. Hard to believe a team can win a game in this league with a QB going 4/7 and rushing for less than 3.5 ypc. How the f*ck did we lose to the Panthers. BTW- I hated watching Akeem Hicks have a very disruptive game (5 tackles, a sack, and a bunch of pressures). If the only issue was money, I think Bill regrets that one. So do I.

e. Lots of talk this week about the ratings decline for the NFL. I wonder if a lot of people are like me. We used to watch 2 or three games each Sunday, and maybe a Monday night if it was a good game. Now I think a lot of people watch THEIR team, and then shut it down...like me. Even though I was getting a number of games to watch before the Pats, I never watch more than 5 minutes and usually turned back to some movie at the onset of the first commercial break.

I don't think the kneeling has anything to do with the loss of ratings. I think the product isn't as good or as interesting, especially when you don't have a rooting interest. The massive resurgence in penalties, like I mentioned above, is a factor. In the ideal game, the refs would be invisible. Now they are ubiquitous, and they are killing the flow of the game. Between that issue, the concussion issue, and to a lesser degree, the kneeling thing that would have quickly become a non-story, if the "blamer-in-chief" hadn't needed a convenient distraction and some pay-back.

f. BTW- After all the crap the AFCE got at the beginning of the year, the division now has 3 winning teams with 16 wins. Is there any other division with this many wins?

OK, I'm done. It's past 4am, and I'm at the babbling stage. Lots of things to discuss. I'll still be smiling when I wake up. This was a great win.
 
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Mike the Brit

Minuteman Target
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Yes, it WAS a great win. Hightower and Brown would be huge losses, and the penalties were very frustrating. But everything else ...

Making the plays on 3rd and 4th down. All of the running backs contributing. Cooks showing up even more. Running the ball effectively at the end of the game. No busted coverages.

All wins are sweet and there are some other teams out there playing well (the Steelers after blowing it against J-ville have been very, very tough -- how does Le'Veon Bell manage to be unstoppable?) but, if they play as they did tonight, the Pats will give anyone anywhere a tough match-up.
 

Lavictoire

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Well, this game started with the Pats getting 4o yds of penalties (some of which were actually earned) and was going apoplectic on the game day thread wondering if this was going to be "one of THOSE games". :rolleyes:
I mean Christ, this was Gene Steratore's crew, supposedly the league's best, and we were getting phantom calls (Solder's hold), and then non-calls on obvious holds. It seemed like the offense was gaining yards and yet we were moving backward. It was like, start first and ten, get a penalty, wind up 1st and 20, gain 17 yds and punt. :eek: It seemed that way the entire first quarter. BUT in the end, things did even out and by and large Steratore's crew let the players play and there weren't any more outrageous calls.

But here's the thing. Most of the calls on the Pats WERE technically penalties, but they were also calls that aren't called 90% of the time. It was like the league has been asking the Pats to play at a higher level than everyone else, with calls going against the Pats that AREN'T being called on their opponents, for things that SHOULDN'T be called on anyone. But like I said, while it wasn't perfect, the refs had a much better game after the first period.

I just wish they didn't interject themselves into the flow of the game with calls that often have nothing to do with the success or failure of a play. Years ago that was the way the game was called. I don't blame the refs for this. It's the league that wants them to call everything, and it ends up not only affecting the results of the game. It destroys any flow the game is trying to build up. It is simply not as enjoyable to watch for the audience, and it's showing in the numbers. They really need to look hard at this.

Why dont they tell the refs to call the game like they do in the postseason?
 

Doctor DDS

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
This was clearly the Pats best played game of the year and in line with their top performances of the last few years. They were crisp on both sides of the balls and their special team coverage continued to impress.

Am generally not one to focus too much on the refs but I can never remember a year where they seem to be in the middle of so many things. After a couple close calls going in the Pats favor last week and even a couple tonight (thought they could have called a PI against Julio Jones) I am not in the camp that the Pats have collectively been getting much worse than they are getting but the perplexing randomness of it all truly has me stumped. The OPI on Gronk was ticky tacky at best and came after much grabbing by the Falcons well past the 5 yard mark, did not see anything on the alleged Solder hold and when they replayed the Mason hold that negated an 8 yard Gillislee run I saw absolutely nothing. Yet where was the obvious holding call on the Ryan 4th down scramble when Marsh was held right in front of the ref? The refs made the 1st quarter difficult to watch. Overall the calls have seemed increasingly random and I find myself checking for flags after virtually every big play before I allow my self to accept the result.

Thought the Falcons panicked going for both 4th downs but especially the one right before the half. 4th and 1 or 2 I could see but in a game where the Pats defense was playing well to take a chance near mid field and giving the ball back seemed like either exceptional hubris or a complete lack of confidence in their offense. If they had pinned the Pats back inside the 15 there is a decent chance the Pats play conservative and the Falcons may have gotten the ball back. If nothing else, the odds of the Pats scoring a TD would have been a major challenge.

From what I could see it looked like Lewis, Van Noy, Butler, Brady and Gostkowski really played well.
 

Pat the Pats Fan

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Great write up...this was a win like I am used to from the pats....and something to build on
 

DarrylS

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PFK great write up as usual.. something I look forward to.

The game was the first game I have enjoyed all year, although there were moments of ineptitude, the team as a whole seemed sharper and more "Patriot like"..

The penalties are mind boggling, and difficult to comprehend why the refs are calling so many marginal penalties to the point that as fans we are discussing that part of the game, rather than the game itself..

Also the first game that #12 used more than his usual 5 receivers, but Allen is still missing from the mix.

Nice to see David Harris out there, not sure how effective he was overall, but showed up on a couple of plays..

Is Jonathan Bademosi one of those guys who the Pats can "coach up" and turn him into a fairly good CB??

The Falcons seem to be suffering from a SB hangover, and they seemed to be a shell of themselves...

Good night for the Pats....
 

everlong

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
1. Regarding Quinn's 4th down calls I thought the first one was correct. The second one I thought this game isn't the shootout we all thought he should punt and not give the Pats momentum. I still don't think that's a bad call just what I thought at the time. The GL he didn't have a choice but on both 3rd and 4th down what awful play calling. Not to take anything away from the Pat's defense because they made brilliant plays but you're finally establishing the run with Freeman and the quick cut and you call two wide sweep plays with an element of trickery in a row.

2. Great play by Marsh. That proved the BB towel that the announcers were so proud of wrong as you saw Bill truly excited. That thing has been around for forever but leave it to the media to be so late to the party.

3. The officials almost every week are ruining the game with inconsistency and ticky tack flags. The flags on Solder and Mason were brutally bad. Gronks foul he didn't need to push off and I can't blame the flag but right before that Cooks gets mugged and there's nothing. At least Andrews finally drew one after getting his helmet ripped off again.

4. Maybe Jones and Badamosi playing within the system and so well will be the wake up moment for Gilmore and to a lesser degree Rowe. There were no communications issues last night and they were swapping off a bit. They did switch between man and zone more last night. Part of that in the second half was the lead.

5. The AFCE might just be better than we all thought. A long way to go but I cannot remember the last time the division owned 3 seeds this late in the season. Overall the league really does lack elite teams. KC is suddenly mortal and for all the talk of the Patriot's porous defense they've given up 5 less points than the Pats. The Steelers are frauds. They've played a weak schedule and been toasted twice by decent defenses. Sadly other than the Pats and Houston they don't play anybody of note with Rodgers out.

6. If I have one criticism from the game it was running in a heavy formation 3rd and goal from the one. They simply do not pick up those yards when the other team knows they have to run. Either spread them out and put Lewis or White back there or go play action from the bunch formation.

7. Both the OL and DL should be credited with playing much better the last few weeks. So much more consistent. Major reason they are rounding into form.

8. If they can take care of the Chargers and hit the break at 6-2 having not played to their potential for most of the first half of the season you have to love their chances. Tough schedule the second half with 5 of 6 on the road and a lot of divisional games. Looking ahead Denver looks to be anemic on offense and the Raiders finally waking up. I think Miami is better off with Moore than Cutler.
 

luuked

Hall of Fame Poster
OK, the rant is over. Let's get back to finally seeing a bit of what this team MIGHT become. As a charter memeber of the "we have to have patience" league, I might have a case to crow a bit and throw out an 'I told you so' or two. But Brady in his post-game presser made a great point going back to the Pat's mantra that each game is a separate entity. Sure it was a great game tonight and a perfect example of complimentary football, but next week will be an entirely DIFFERENT set of challenges. New offensive game plan, new defensive game plan, new matchups on both sides of the ball, so what was shown tonight has NO effect on next week's game. So while it was nice they were able to run the ball more than they passed it, it doesn't mean next weeks game will be the same. Nor does it mean the players that played big roles THIS week, will be the playmakers next week.

This.

Nice writeup Ken..
 

Kdo5

Pro Bowl Player
5. General thoughts on the game

a. I wish Collingworth would come out and say what he thinks on some of the calls that are made where there are no infractions. He came so close on a couple of calls against the Pats, but stopped just short of calling a spade a spade.

b. I applauded Dan Quinn for going for it on fourth down behind only 7-0 in the first half, in Pats territory. They made it the first time. Not so well after that. It might not have been the right move for many, but it made sense to me. He probably came into the game thinking that, like a lot of people, the game was going to be a shootout. Both the 4th downs he missed were short yardage situations. I'm sure I will be in the minority on this, though in his shoes I might have punted the first time, I can see why he made the move.

c. The good news the Pats offense didn't turn over the ball. The bad news is the defense did GET any TO's. I know shutting down a 4th down is LIKE a TO, but I would REALLY like to see the defense create more TO's. IIRC all the really good Pats teams have been at the top of the league in TO's. The DL is solidifying and the secondary is coming into their own. NOW I would like to see the Pats creating 2 or 3 TO's a game.

d. I saw bits and pieces of the Jets/Miami, Bears/Panthers, and Titans/Browns. Hard to believe a team can win a game in this league with a QB going 4/7 and rushing for less than 3.5 ypc. How the f*ck did we lose to the Panthers. BTW- I hated watching Akeem Hicks have a very disruptive game (5 tackles, a sack, and a bunch of pressures). If the only issue was money, I think Bill regrets that one. So do I.

e. Lots of talk this week about the ratings decline for the NFL. I wonder if a lot of people are like me. We used to watch 2 or three games each Sunday, and maybe a Monday night if it was a good game. Now I think a lot of people watch THEIR team, and then shut it down...like me. Even though I was getting a number of games to watch before the Pats, I never watch more than 5 minutes and usually turned back to some movie at the onset of the first commercial break.

I don't think the kneeling has anything to do with the loss of ratings. I think the product isn't as good or as interesting, especially when you don't have a rooting interest. The massive resurgence in penalties, like I mentioned above, is a factor. In the ideal game, the refs would be invisible. Now they are ubiquitous, and they are killing the flow of the game. Between that issue, the concussion issue, and to a lesser degree, the kneeling thing that would have quickly become a non-story, if the "blamer-in-chief" hadn't needed a convenient distraction and some pay-back.

f. BTW- After all the crap the AFCE got at the beginning of the year, the division now has 3 winning teams with 16 wins. Is there any other division with this many wins?

OK, I'm done. It's past 4am, and I'm at the babbling stage. Lots of things to discuss. I'll still be smiling when I wake up. This was a great win.
Good post. I thought the first fourth down call was questionable before and after. The play wasn't there for them and they were saved by an open field scramble. Once the Pats defense had established that they were playing very well, it was downright foolish to go for it near midfield right before the half. Seriously awful decision.
 

borg

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Great write up PFK.

My quick thoughts:

Atlanta has lost their mojo. Where did that brash, creative offense go (SF)?
Matty Ryan needs to look for other receivers besides Jones and Sanu who saw 23/33 targets

Pats DBs playing press coverage in their depleted state.....bold and impressive.
Butler was possessed out there and one could say he thrives when he is "the guy".
One play though....the Julio Jones TD that highlighted Butler's size limitations....demonstrates why Butler may never get paid like "the guy". Regardless...he was "the man" last night.

Regarding the Pats running game, Lewis was very solid though I can't believe BB is OK with a feature back incapable of breaking tackles.
I was impressed with Burkhead's vision last night in limited action. He was locating and navigating space with ease. Later in the season, if healthy, Burkhead may end up as NE's main back.
Something seems off with James White athletically. He is always in the right position but has yet to do much when he gets the ball.

Is Hogan being held together with duck tape? The guy has taken a beating this year but always answers the bell for the next round.
The Gronk "push off" has clearly become a point of emphasis by the officials not just in Foxborough but throughout the league and it is about time.
What was clear last night was that fistfulls of DL jerseys is not a point of emphasis. As Ken pointed out, NE did a lousy job containing the edge on a few Ryan scrambles, assisted by OTs being allowed unlimited holding opportunities as long as the hands are on the numbers. (This interpretation of the rules never makes sense)
I am anxious to read more about how Harris did last night.
I am excited NE's secondary was aggressive...not passive ....starting at the LOS.
Of course it wouldn't be a BB defense if he didn't revert into bend and break mode during the eat-away-at-the-clock portion of the night...which frustrates me more than anything else.
Last point...pliability!!! QBs are breaking down all over the league yet Brady continues to survive and thrive. I'm convinced the man has a guardian angel looking after him.

PS: It seemed like only yesterday NE was 3 games ( 2 plus head to head tie breaker) behind KC. How quickly things change. The vaunted AFC West has lost some luster while the AFC South has two emerging teams. Regarding Pitt....I can't decide if NE should be worried about them yet...but the Steelers D is a better D than in years past.
 
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archstanton543

In the Starting Line-Up
Why do people even listen to those in the media? I stopped listening to sports talk radio a couple of years ago and it was the best decision I ever made. And I hardly ever read any newspaper sports columns. I don't care one whit if the media in this town or in any other town is on board with the Pats.
 

livinginthe past

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
As much as I didn't like the calls on Mason and Solder, I found the PI call on Gronk to be more egregious.

I don't think it's paranoia to suggest that the refs have been specifically told by the league to call Gronk super tight on OPI - the truth is the defenders have been grabbing him and holding on (at least that was called once this game) - how is he is supposed to free his arms for a catch?

Last night, I thought he just offered a straight arm to the chest of a chasing DB to make some space for a catch - very different to running at a DB and pushing him away from you to create separation.

Great game, great write up.
 

Nunchucks

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The Falcons' coaching was terrible. Going for it on 4th and long that first time was a terrible decision. You have to pin the Patriots deep and trust your defense. Falcons got bailed out by the Ryan scramble, but that should have been the lesson.

Instead they go for it again in the same place near the end of the half. Should have forced the Patriots to go the length of the field with time winding down...Instead they gave them great field position.....

Last 4th down, they should have kicked the field goal, instead a Jet sweep on the goal line? Another terrible play call for a number of reasons, one being that the Patriots were not snapping the ball at their own 1 yard line.

No bunch receiver sets? Did the Falcons not watch any film on the Patriots defense?

Patriots played great and deserve this win. I just wonder WTF are the Falcons doing? If I was a fan, I'd be pissed.
 

VegasGuy

In the Starting Line-Up
The Falcons' coaching was terrible. Going for it on 4th and long that first time was a terrible decision. You have to pin the Patriots deep and trust your defense. Falcons got bailed out by the Ryan scramble, but that should have been the lesson.

Instead they go for it again in the same place near the end of the half. Should have forced the Patriots to go the length of the field with time winding down...Instead they gave them great field position.....

Last 4th down, they should have kicked the field goal, instead a Jet sweep on the goal line? Another terrible play call for a number of reasons, one being that the Patriots were not snapping the ball at their own 1 yard line.

No bunch receiver sets? Did the Falcons not watch any film on the Patriots defense?

Patriots played great and deserve this win. I just wonder WTF are the Falcons doing? If I was a fan, I'd be pissed.
Oh the Falcon fans are pissed.

Some are even calling for Quinn's head.
 

Sicilian

Pro Bowl Player
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
The Falcons' coaching was terrible. Going for it on 4th and long that first time was a terrible decision. You have to pin the Patriots deep and trust your defense. Falcons got bailed out by the Ryan scramble, but that should have been the lesson.

Instead they go for it again in the same place near the end of the half. Should have forced the Patriots to go the length of the field with time winding down...Instead they gave them great field position.....

Last 4th down, they should have kicked the field goal, instead a Jet sweep on the goal line? Another terrible play call for a number of reasons, one being that the Patriots were not snapping the ball at their own 1 yard line.

No bunch receiver sets? Did the Falcons not watch any film on the Patriots defense?

Patriots played great and deserve this win. I just wonder WTF are the Falcons doing? If I was a fan, I'd be pissed.

I think part of what makes this team and this coach as good as they are is they work really hard on situational things like this, so that the "wrong" choice is made very infrequently. Maybe there would be a better one in hindsight, or a play was coached in practice or executed poorly, but the decision is usually sound (some of the more obvious examples aside).

What this leads to I think is other team's fanbases having unreasonable expectations for how many of these poor decisions they should be seeing. In the heat of these games, when you're trying to read the flow and follow through on matchups you've identified all week, it is NOT easy to always make the right call. But they look at the other sideline and say, "Well, the Patriots didn't shoot themselves in the foot, so it was really all OUR team's fault we lost!"

I feel like every Super Bowl we've won this has been the argument. "Patriots played great and deserved to win, but..." At some point you just have to acknowledge that being consistent and prepared is an advantage that is winning us games, because it sets us apart from the average coach who just can't pull it off the same way. Calling for Quinn's head based on those things to me is the same as asking the Patriots to cut Hogan because he's not making as many incredible athletic catches like Julio Jones.
 

XLIX

Pro Bowl Player
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
"Gee the Pats played good defense without Gilmore, so he must be the problem. How can your most expensive defensive salary be the problem? Bill screwed up again. yadda yadda yadda". Giardi quickly joined the chorus, and I now know the main topic of the week on sports talk. :rolleyes: BELIEVE ME. The Pats secondary will be even better when Gilmore and Rowe return.
I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying I have seen no evidence to support the above assertion.
 

XLIX

Pro Bowl Player
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Oh the Falcon fans are pissed.

Some are even calling for Quinn's head.
They have an OC who is 2 years removed from being fired for showing up at USC practice **** faced and lasted all of 1 game as OC of Alabama.

I don’t see Quinn as the problem, other than Quinn’s influence in the hiring of Sarkesian. I have no idea wtf they were thinking.
 
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