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idle thoughts - The Ugly edition.

2021 Patriots Season:
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Sep 12th

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patfanken

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OK this is going to be a quick one since it's already 12:30 and I have a 7:15am Doctor's appointment and I want to look good for the receptionist. ;) Besides there is really nothing much to learn from this game except that the Bills have a pretty good defense and ZERO offense outside of Hauschka (who was VERY good in bad conditions). The rest of it was fairly ugly. I was actually surprised when I found out Brady had 324 passing yds. That's a LOT of yds on what I thought was a bit of an off night from Tom (and Josh, btw). Granted the weather conditions were tough, though I've seen him better in worse conditions. Granted that is a tough environment to play in. And Granted there were missing some key pieces with no one really to run the ball and Cannon being out again too..

So lets stop the jabbering and get this done. I'd like to get a few hours before I have to get up at 6am.

1. General Offensive thoughts - Like I said I think the Bills have a pretty good defense and clearly had a nice plan for the Pats. I think the Pats had to work very hard for every yard they got tonight. The Bills played hard, and until McCordy's pick still had a puncher's chance well into the 4th quarter.

I questioned a few more calls this game then usual. I know Josh was hindered by a lack of any real running threat. CPatterson was willing but looked uncomfortable in his reads at RB, but still he was better than any other option we had. I hated the 3rd an 4 run on third down. I hated a LOT of calls in the read zone.

2. QB - Brady completed 64% of his passes in somewhat tough conditions for 324 yds and that passes for an off night in today's NFL 4 FG's and zero TD's is going to get Brady really pissed when he looks at this game. He hit Hogan early and I thought this would be a big game for him. Instead he only got one more look and it too was a long completion. I took the time to look for Hogan when the Pats were in the redzone. I saw at least 3 occasions where I thought Brady should have gone to him. I could be wrong and will want to see the rewatch thread to confirm my impression.

Only 3 yds to go before Brady becomes a member of the 1000 yd club. ;). He also threw an effective if not pleasing block to help Edelman get a first down to keep a drive going. Brady correctly described his efforts as being a "speed bump" in his presser after the game.

I felt that except for a handful of passes Brady's ball seemed to lack the zip we've seen in earlier contests. Maybe I'm just overreacting to a very sloppy offensive performance that never seemed to find any rhythm. Gronk had 3 nice catches, but was targeted 8 times. Not an efficient night.

3. OL - Another good pass blocking night for them. Brady was sacked twice, but on both occasions he had plenty of time to make a play. A good job against a team that was in the top 10 in sacks. The running attack....not so much. After a great run blocking week against KC, there were very few holes or space for our remaining runners to get some room. But my biggest concern was when it was reported Mason was out and Karras was in. I'm hoping it was nothing serious.

4. RB's - James White, who has been our most consistent offensive player other than Tom Brady,was consistent again. 10 catches on 13 targets for 80's and a short running TD. He also did nothing much in the run game, though there never seemed to be much room for him.

CPatterson got the bulk of the run game, if you can count 10 rushes as "the bulk" I loved his effort, but like I said, he never looked completely comfortable running between the tackles. And why SHOULD he look comfortable, his a freakin' WR! :eek: Not that he didn't run hard. It was just he looked like he was a WR thrust into a position he shouldn't have been placed.....and fortunately didn't look awful.

5. Receivers - Gronk made one of those catches that make you go WOW!, but for most of the game he seemed unusually out of sync with Brady. I wonder when the last time Brady threw to Gronk 8 times and only got 3 receptions out of it.

BTW- Gronk was getting held and pushed WELL past 5 yds most of the night. And on his great catch, he was being mugged well before the ball got there (which match the catch even more remarkable). There shouldn't have been any drama about whether he got that 2nd foot down because there should have been a flag thrown.

Hogan is open more than he gets thrown to. Edelman is awesome even in his dotage. And Gordon was OK, but I'm still seeing no burst or acceleration from him. I can't get that image of him pulling away from Talib back in 2015 or so. Maybe that guy doesn't exist anymore. Still he can go "get the ball" and has outstanding hands. (except maybe for that first one.)

Bottom line here for the offense is that it isn't going to reach anything close to its potential without a REAL between the tackles RB. Now all that will take care of itself when Michel and Burkhead return, but until that happens this offense will be running at 70%.

6. Defensive generalities - Good effort against a flawed team. The Bills gained a lot of soft yardage during the game. I thought the D was particularly effective in quickly adjusting to the new wrinkles that the Bills trotted out there in the first quarter.

7. Front 7- The Bills were supposed to have one thing going for themselves offensively and that was their run game. Well despite that slow start the front 7 held the Bills to only 46 yds rushing in a game you KNOW the Bills wanted to run the ball a lot. I found it interesting that in the end the Pats not only rushed for more yd (78-46), they had more attempts. Holding a back as good as McCoy to 13 yds and a 1.1ypc is an accomplishment. Especially with Hightower out.

In the GDT, I wondered why the Pats outside rushers seemed to be treating Anderson as if he were a scrambling threat, as they seemed to rush only from the outside and were careful to keep decent leverage and not run by the QB. I only had to wait about one series before Chaybourn FINALLY made an inside move and beat the OT and got the sack. About freakin' time as far as I was concerned.

Flowers continues to be enormous in both in the run AND the passing game. And KVN just seems to make play after play with 2 sacks, 8 tackles and 1 TFL. About the only blemish in the game for him was that long pass he gave up to McCoy on that wheel route early in the game. Kudo's to the guys in the middle of the D on their run D. Lot of good work there.

8. DB's Gilmore effectively erased Benjamin except for 2 plays that were both tightly contested. His work has been consistently good. The only receivers who had any real success were Zay Jones and McCoy out of the backfield, each with 6 catches. I thought Anderson did a decent job tonight despite only having 6 practices. He threw some nice balls. Even the pick was on target. He just never saw DMcCourty laying a trap for him.

Chung was solid again all night. Clay got 3 on him, but all were heavily contested,

9. ST's - OK night for them. I thought Allen didn't have a great night (38yd per punt. On Gotkowski's miss at 50yd, I don't think it was the wind. He just missed a bit wide.

10. Miscellaneous -

a. I learned a few things I didn't know before. I learned that if you call a fair catch, you can't block a cover guy from downing the ball. I learned that somehow the Pats KO coverage team created an illegal formation when they had someone hold the ball in the wind. The former official they had on the broadcast to explain it to us, sounded like a blithering idiot, and I still have no idea what they did wrong.

b. 6-2 and a tough game coming up before a well needed bye. The Packers looked really strong in a losing effort on the road against the well stoked Rams. It will be a challenge for sure and will be fun to talk about all week. Lots of Brady/Rodgers talk of course

c. Another win, but not a defining one. We still don't know exactly in what direction this team is going.despite 5 straight wins There are still questions about if the defense is getting better. Unfortunately this strong 6 point result still isn't going to answer that question. And having this offense seemingly taking a step back, we still have more questions than answers, which is rare this late into the season.

Still 6-2 is a solid first half of the season, especially after such a shaky start.

OK 2am and I'm hitting the hay. Enjoy....and comment and add anything I've missed
 

dustcover

Practice Squad Player
Nice summary, very solid. Hope your doctor's appointment turns out well, but in the aftermath if you have the time and inclination after watching some replays, perhaps you could lend some insight to a play that particularly caught my attention.

On the sole reception that James Develin caught after which he bulldozed the two defenders, both defenders egregiously led with their helmets and made contact with Develin's helmet. One of the defenders I think went to the sidelines after the hit. So where were the flags, or am I still confused as to the helmet to helmet rule?
 

Batman

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
a. I learned a few things I didn't know before. I learned that if you call a fair catch, you can't block a cover guy from downing the ball. I learned that somehow the Pats KO coverage team created an illegal formation when they had someone hold the ball in the wind. The former official they had on the broadcast to explain it to us, sounded like a blithering idiot, and I still have no idea what they did wrong.

The fair catch blocking rule was added a long time ago, I want to even say in the 90’s

New kickoff must have at least two outside the numbers and at least two between number and hashes. You basically have 1 free man for drawing stuff up. On the kickoff we had 3 outside the numbers,one between the numbers and hash marks the fifth was holding the ball. The new formation rules are complex.
 

Tony2046

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Nice summary, very solid. Hope your doctor's appointment turns out well, but in the aftermath if you have the time and inclination after watching some replays, perhaps you could lend some insight to a play that particularly caught my attention.

On the sole reception that James Develin caught after which he bulldozed the two defenders, both defenders egregiously led with their helmets and made contact with Develin's helmet. One of the defenders I think went to the sidelines after the hit. So where were the flags, or am I still confused as to the helmet to helmet rule?

Basically it's been mum's the word on that rule since the regular season started.
 

archstanton543

In the Starting Line-Up
5. Receivers - Gronk made one of those catches that make you go WOW!, but for most of the game he seemed unusually out of sync with Brady. I wonder when the last time Brady threw to Gronk 8 times and only got 3 receptions out of it.

Yeah, because Brady was under heavy pressure all night.
 

archstanton543

In the Starting Line-Up
b. 6-2 and a tough game coming up before a well needed bye.

So, the Pats aren't playing the Titans on the 11th?
 

luuked

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ke I said I think the Bills have a pretty good defense and clearly had a nice plan for the Pats. I think the Pats had to work very hard for every yard they got tonight. The Bills played hard, and until McCordy's pick still had a puncher's chance well into the 4th quarter.

People that didn't pay attention to how the Bills had a top 5 passing D coming into this game might have been surprised by how sloppy the offense looked but in reality it really was a perfect storm of things for Buffalo with us having no credible RB to take advantage of lighter boxes.

The Bills played a lot of dime and nickel knowing very well that Brady and McDaniels default to using the pass as an extension of the run game if they can't get a consistent run game. Having Daboll on your staff also means they had some insight knowledge how BB, Josh and Brady like to attack schemes or use their concepts.

I felt that except for a handful of passes Brady's ball seemed to lack the zip we've seen in earlier contests. Maybe I'm just overreacting to a very sloppy offensive performance that never seemed to find any rhythm. Gronk had 3 nice catches, but was targeted 8 times. Not an efficient night.

Given how he played without a running game, most of the second half without Mason on the inside and the windy conditions I am not sure that there is much to read into some of those passes. Yes there were a couple of underthrows (Gronk early in the first quarter, the much discussed pass to White in the redzone)..) but then he had the same amount of absolute lasers to Hogan and Edelman throughout the game.

That being said that floater to White with 12 minutes left in the final quarter -- while the score was still 12:6 -- was just a very bad decision and was just asking to be picked (and maybe returned ?). Ironically a few plays later we scored our first TD so it will most probably not even be a footnote but brushed aside by many.

Gronk made one of those catches that make you go WOW!, but for most of the game he seemed unusually out of sync with Brady. I wonder when the last time Brady threw to Gronk 8 times and only got 3 receptions out of it.

I don't know whats up with Gronk but he is rarely getting any of those killer seam routes which indicates to me that this part of the playbook stays off limits until you really need it. Or, alternatively, his ankle injury still bothers him which would explain the lack of separations on some of the out routes.

Another note.. I liked how Josh tried to use him 2-3 times as a fullback of sorts. That is a creative way to get into I-formation while screwing with the opponents personnel. I don't think we have seen that last of it.

CPatterson got the bulk of the run game, if you can count 10 rushes as "the bulk" I loved his effort, but like I said, he never looked completely comfortable running between the tackles. And why SHOULD he look comfortable, his a freakin' WR! :eek: Not that he didn't run hard. It was just he looked like he was a WR thrust into a position he shouldn't have been placed.....and fortunately didn't look awful.

I honestly think BB and Josh wanted to see what they have with CP as emergency depth and/or designed plays. It is impossible to simulate live snaps as RB in today's practice because of all the limits the NFLPA and NFL agreed on. In a sense I thought keeping CP back there was not that much an indictment of Barner but more a test balloon by the coaching staff.

CP reminded me a bit of Blount in the sense that he needs a hole and can't manufacture anything behind the LOS by himself but once he gets going he is hard to stop. Obviously I am not saying he is a similar player as Blount.

Good effort against a flawed team. The Bills gained a lot of soft yardage during the game. I thought the D was particularly effective in quickly adjusting to the new wrinkles that the Bills trotted out there in the first quarter.

I thought it was the first somewhat complete game by the defense we have seen all year. They had good 3 quarters against the Colts and a great half against KC. This was more or less the 60 minute effort. Yes, the Bills moved the ball on a few occasions but they were still kept clearly below their season average in points.


Also the fact how quickly the defense adjusted to all the gadget plays Daboll was throwing at them just is an indicator of good communication and being on the same page.

In the GDT, I wondered why the Pats outside rushers seemed to be treating Anderson as if he were a scrambling threat, as they seemed to rush only from the outside and were careful to keep decent leverage and not run by the QB.

Quite honestly I think it was a big coaching lesson from last week and the staff made a point about contain and setting the edge even if Anderson was not necessarily a real threat. Think of it as glorified practice reps for next week.

Flowers continues to be enormous in both in the run AND the passing game. And KVN just seems to make play after play with 2 sacks, 8 tackles and 1 TFL. About the only blemish in the game for him was that long pass he gave up to McCoy on that wheel route early in the game. Kudo's to the guys in the middle of the D on their run D. Lot of good work there.

I hope they find a way to extend Flowers because he is THE impact player on the front 7. Without him they become toothless. KVN has become a pretty good player now that he essentially has full grasp of the Pats D.

I don't think the wheel route is that much of a blemish but just a bad mismatch that he will lose 9 out of 10 times. His only chance to catch up in a foot race with McCoy is a bad pass.

I learned a few things I didn't know before. I learned that if you call a fair catch, you can't block a cover guy from downing the ball. I learned that somehow the Pats KO coverage team created an illegal formation when they had someone hold the ball in the wind. The former official they had on the broadcast to explain it to us, sounded like a blithering idiot, and I still have no idea what they did wrong.

The way I understood it is that with the new rules you have to have 2 players between the numbers and the hashes. With DMac holding they did not have that.

Another win, but not a defining one. We still don't know exactly in what direction this team is going.despite 5 straight wins There are still questions about if the defense is getting better. Unfortunately this strong 6 point result still isn't going to answer that question.

Quite honestly I don't think there will ever be a moment where you can say this defense is good or it is bad.

Despite how bad the last 3 games looked in terms of points given up I thought the defense played overall sound given the hands they had been dealt in terms of turnovers and shortfields. What killed them in addition to those turnovers and ST screwups was a lot of individual errors or bad execution.

I think the best part about this defense so far has been that it is pretty balanced as you see nobody claiming the usual "you can run on this team" or "you can pass on this team". In terms of DVOA they are dead average overall and individually against the pass and run.

In the end what you want the defense to be is a unit that can stop the opponents often enough for our offense to do its job and outscore the other team. This is about complimentary football and not about shutting other teams out. And at around halftime of the regular season the defense looks a lot more solid overall and especially against the run than last year's unit.

Still 6-2 is a solid first half of the season, especially after such a shaky start.

No question. Two games against differently flawed teams remain before the BYE. If we go in 8-2 then we have a bit of a buffer for the Vikings and Steelers games later this year. Everything is going perfectly fine.
 
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DarrylS

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No one can ever convince me that Derek Anderson is the best choice, will avoid the Kaeprenick argument, but there are a few out there who might fill that role better.. Since 2011 Anderson has played in 27 games, has completed 160 of 238 passes and thrown 7 TD's... Buffalo and their boy genius McDermott have to do better than that.. should have stayed on the golf course.

"Shady McCoy" really?? The effort to climb into the hot tub time machine sounded stupid..

The announcing crew for MNF is terrrible, maybe magnified as I grew was a huge fan when Cossell, Gifford and "Dandy Don" were the guys who made dull games interesting an fun..

Last night the Pats eeked out a win, but they looked ugly and out of sync.. crappy O game plan and overall the team looked lethargic and devoid of energy..

Know this is sacrilegious but #12 still looks off to me and does #87, they are not as much in control as they used to be.. age?? Cannot buy not enough weapons as this team has more the usual.. RB is a huge void right now, but if the Pats put all their eggs in the basked with a RB with a history of knee problems more of the same can happen. As bad as the rushing game was the Pats outrushed the Bills 76 yards to 46. If you listened to the announcers they made it sound like the Bills ground game was kicking butt and taking names..

A win is a win, maybe the old adage that the Pats play to the level of competition was evident and if this is the case need to step up their game next Sunday Night, another freakin night game..

Then the bye week happens, hopefully some of the walking wounded can heal..

Van Noy and Trey Flowers looked as good as they have all season all night..
 

luuked

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No one can ever convince me that Derek Anderson is the best choice, will avoid the Kaeprenick argument, but there are a few out there who might fill that role better.. Since 2011 Anderson has played in 27 games, has completed 160 of 238 passes and thrown 7 TD's... Buffalo and their boy genius McDermott have to do better than that.. should have stayed on the golf course.

McDermott and Daboll both spend time with Anderson at the Panthers and the Browns, respectively. That is why the Bills got him out of retirement because there was a certain level of comfort from experience that he would be able to pick things up. Really don't think it was that much of a bad move from that perspective.
 

goheels22002

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Nice summary, very solid. Hope your doctor's appointment turns out well, but in the aftermath if you have the time and inclination after watching some replays, perhaps you could lend some insight to a play that particularly caught my attention.

On the sole reception that James Develin caught after which he bulldozed the two defenders, both defenders egregiously led with their helmets and made contact with Develin's helmet. One of the defenders I think went to the sidelines after the hit. So where were the flags, or am I still confused as to the helmet to helmet rule?

Develin should have been flagged since he lead with his helmet. The first defender that made head-to-head contact left with a concussion. The second guy should have been flagged since he had time lead with a shoulder.
 

RobertWeathers

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Good post.

I'll focus on just the negative. :p

Tom made some dumb throws. I wish he was more careful with the football. Just seems off still.
Zero depth at RB after Sony and White. Rex should help
Josh and Gronk had average games. Gronk is not right at all.
Jules had a couple of brain farts
Red Zone O inept
Gilmore struggles with bigger WRs
Still can cover RBs out of the backfield

In my day I walked 4 miles to school.....in the snow....fighting off lions....each way.
 

DarrylS

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McDermott and Daboll both spend time with Anderson at the Panthers and the Browns, respectively. That is why the Bills got him out of retirement because there was a certain level of comfort from experience that he would be able to pick things up. Really don't think it was that much of a bad move from that perspective.

On the field performance, are they content with that?? Very little chance of winning anything with him as QB....
 

mosi

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
I posted this in another thread but the bills D is a really good. The played a very similar game against the Packers IN Green Bay. Yes, they lost 22-0 but the Bills D played well. Rodgers was only 22-40 for 298 yards with a TD and an INT.

The reason the Bill sucked so bad in that game was the QB, Allen was absolutely terrible.

In the Bills 6 first half drives, 4 were a 3 and out and 1 was an interception. Their second half was no better. Anderson is a major improvement over Allen.
 

luuked

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On the field performance, are they content with that?? Very little chance of winning anything with him as QB....

I think he was signed as a mentor figure for Allen (which he also did for Cam Newton while McDermott was in Carolina) and then the rookie suffered that elbow injury. It is not like they went out and signed Anderson to start.

But whatever I think we both have better things to do than to discuss the decision making of the Bills.
 

patriot1136

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
The O-line makes me nervous overall. They did a good job though against a tough Bills defense. I hope Mason can return quickly; Karras is a nice role player and depth but he's no Mason. I'm frustrated with Cannon, even though he may return, he will probably get hurt again at some point. Definitely can't rely on him to be/stay healthy. I like Waddle but there's room for improvement there.
 

QuantumMechanic

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I learned that somehow the Pats KO coverage team created an illegal formation when they had someone hold the ball in the wind. The former official they had on the broadcast to explain it to us, sounded like a blithering idiot, and I still have no idea what they did wrong.
The former official was Jeff Tripplette, who when he was on the field managed to unite all 32 fanbases in declaring him the worst official in the NFL. (Two "highlights" were blowing the touchback call in the 2005 playoff game against Denver and literally (and lastingly) blinding a player with a penalty flag.)
 
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