Through the first two games of the 2015 season, New England’s offense has been clicking pretty well and the good news is, they’re not even as good as they could be yet.
The Patriots put up 507 total yards out in Buffalo on Sunday, but oddly enough it wasn’t exactly their best performance. One point of emphasis likely being discussed in the film room this week is the fact the Patriots struggled moving the chains on 3rd down out in Buffalo, converting just 3-of-10 (30%) against the Bills and they were also 0-for-2 on fourth down.
The ground game is another area that hasn’t been all that impressive just yet, with New England having gained 136 total yards running the football after LeGarrette Blount missed week one and then carried just twice on Sunday, while Dion Lewis has rushed 22 times for 109 total yards along with a touchdown. For Lewis, it’s not a bad start, although he did have a fumble against the Bills and ball security will likely be a point of emphasis he’ll be hearing about after his performance.
All of this has the Patriots with some things to work on as they get set for the Jaguars to come to town, but there’s one crazy thing worth noting about their situation on the offensive side of the football. Despite their issues and things they need to work on, they’re on pace to have one of their best seasons ever.
As CBS Sports pointed out on Monday, this is a group that so far is averaging 434 net yards per game, slightly better than the 419 they averaged during the first two weeks in 2007. Tom Brady is also off to a better start after he’s averaged 377 passing yards per game (he averaged 280 through the first two in 2007) and he’s also thrown 7 touchdowns and no interceptions, compared to six touchdowns and one interception at this point in 2007.
Obviously we’re only two games in and there’s still quite a bit of football left to be played, but it’s an encouraging note considering that they’re still no where near as good as they could be. So far Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman have been playing as well as most could have expected, but they’re starting to get production from Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson, as well as from fellow tight end Scott Chandler. They’ve also put up the totals they have while Brandon LaFell remains on PUP and has been a spectator but a vocal game day Twitter supporter.
Needless to say if this team can put their running game together and continue getting more production from other players in the passing game, they’re no where near their ceiling just yet. The sky is the limit and it should be fun to see how this group develops in the coming months.
NO ROMO AGAINST THE PATRIOTS?
Some not-so-good news for Cowboys fans on Monday but Patriots fans have a reason to be happy after the news came out that the broken collarbone suffered by Dallas quarterback Tony Romo should keep him out for about 8-weeks, which takes him out of the mix against the Patriots.
The last time these two teams met was back on October 16, 2011 and Romo had a pretty good game against them. He completed 27-of-41 for 317 along with a touchdown in a game that saw the Patriots have to put together a fourth quarter rally to come from behind and win 20-16.
According to published reports, Romo’s injury won’t require surgery and the Cowboys are currently exploring their options and are set to take a look at four veteran QBs, including former Patriot Matt Flynn, as well as Christian Ponder, Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. They currently have Brandon Weeden at quarterback.
New England is set to battle the Cowboys on October 11th out in Texas.
RYAN STILL CHIRPING IN BUFFALO:
Rex Ryan still isn’t happy his team was beaten by the Patriots and on Monday tried to defend his decision to make some statements leading up to the contest.
“They outplayed us, they outcoached us, they outdid whatever,” Ryan said via Mike Rodak of ESPN. “But there’s different ways of chatting and of all that type of stuff, too. Let’s face it: New England is not exactly the Boy Scouts of America. All right? So you can say what you want, but the tape doesn’t lie either.”
Ryan also pointed out that he didn’t feel the Patriots were all that perfect either given some of what he felt were missed infractions by the officials.
“I thought we had a legal block that they called a penalty there and things like that,” he said. “We had a player thrown out of bounds after a play was over, and we got a 15-yard penalty. So there are things that are right there, borderline, but it seems like we’re not gonna get the break. We just got to be smart, we got to learn to walk away from things and that’s what we’ll do.”
He may also want to try and keep his team from committing 14 penalties and making so many mental mistakes, but he’ll have plenty of time to think this one over. The Patriots won’t face Buffalo again until November 23rd when they visit Gillette Stadium for a Monday night game.
RAVENS BECOME HYPOCRITES:
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh wasn’t happy when the Patriots executed some perfectly legal yet unorthodox formations against his team during January’s playoff loss, but it looks like he might have decided to read the rule book and come up with some of his own.
On Sunday out in Oakland the Ravens actually split out one of their tackles as an eligible receiver and replaced him with a tight end inside.
Granted it didn’t help them all that much since the Ravens ended up losing 37-33 against the Raiders and now it’s a formation that teams have on film to prepare for. Bill Belichick was able to keep his tricks in the bag to win in the playoffs, although that might end up being a moot point for Baltimore after their 0-2 start.
PATRIOTS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS IN INTERCEPTIONS & SACKS
After watching the New York Jets pick off Andrew Luck with some degree of regularity Monday night, it’s worth noting that despite losing Darrelle Revis, the Patriots actually find themselves at the top of the pack when it comes to interceptions.
Through two games the Patriots are tied for the league lead with the Jets and Broncos with four total interceptions, with Malcolm Butler and Duron Harmon each coming away with one during Sunday’s win out in Buffalo.
For Harmon, that was his second pick in as many weeks, while Butler’s was his first-ever in the regular season. Logan Ryan also had one on Sunday, giving the Patriots three on the afternoon.
Meanwhile one point of emphasis was also on trying to improve their pass rush after losing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner to free agency this offseason and so far it’s worked out pretty well. New England currently leads the NFL in sacks with 11, three more than both the Rams and Chiefs, who have 8. Granted this total is a little skewed given that they got to Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor eight times on Sunday, but it’s still impressive nonetheless.
So far Chandler Jones leads the team with 3, all of which were made on Sunday in Buffalo, which can also be said for the Jamie Collins’ total of 2.5. From there Dont’a Hightower has 1.5, and Rob Ninkovich, Jabal Sheard, Alan Branch and Malcolm Brown each have one.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary