So the Patriots didn’t blow them out again and weren’t able to send the message that they wanted to those pesky Colts who pulled out all the stops in an attempt to derail New England’s undefeated season thus far.
The bottom line is the Patriots are 5-0 and on top of the division. Although you could tell by the slightly downbeat press conferences by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady that they wanted to send a message, there were plenty of positives.
On a night where Rob Gronkowski was only targeted once in the first half, and Julian Edelman had a case of the drops due to an injured finger, the Patriots offense scored 34 points on the road. Granted they set the bar very high here in New England, but by most any standard that was a successful game. But the standards here are always high and that is why they’ll dwell on the points and plays they left on the field as they prepare for a big divisional rivalry game next week against the Jets.
The defense had their share of struggles in the first half, giving up two long touchdown drives to Andrew Luck and the Colts, but after halftime, they shut them down. Indy couldn’t get anything going until a garbage time touchdown pass with just over a minute to go in the game. They’ll be plenty of film for Bill Belichick to nitpick this week.
So here are our Three Up, Three Down players for the Colts game.
Tom Brady: Brady looked like he came out on the short end of the score last night if you just tuned into his post-game presser. But make no mistake; he continued his hot streak that he’s started the season with.
Brady continues to see the field as well as anyone and his new found ability to move in the pocket was in evidence on two different touchdown throws. He won’t be confused with Aaron Rodgers and his ability to scramble, but Brady’s ability to slide and move in the pocket has the Patriots offense operating at a very high level. And Brandon LaFell should be back this week.
Brady’s numbers for the game were 23-37 for 312 yards, three touchdowns and his first interception. And even that was a wide open, perfectly delivered throw to Julian Edelman that was bobbled straight up in the air before being picked off. Brady’s excellent passer rating for the game of 104.8 actually lowered his season’s average to 118.4.
Tom Brady had another strong game to lead the Patriots to their 5-0 start. (USA TODAY Images)
LaGarrette Blount: While Sunday night’s game wasn’t the monster night that Blount enjoyed in his last two playoff appearances against the Colts, it was plenty good enough to lead the Patriots to victory. The Colts were making a concerted effort to sell out in run support and after being gashed badly in their last three meetings, it was understandable but Blount still was able to deliver.
Blount had a very productive night; he carried the ball 16 times for 93 yards including a huge 38-yard touchdown run that put the Patriots ahead. His average of 5.8 yards per carry was excellent and he caught his first touchdown reception, an 11-yarder where he reacted well to Brady rolling out and found an open seam and rolled easily into the end zone.
Logan Ryan: Ryan has been effective two weeks in a row and with Tarell Brown placed on IR this week, the depth has been thinned and the pressure was put on he and LCB Malcolm Butler. And they delivered.
Not long ago we were debating whether or not Ryan would make the final 53-man roster cuts; Now he’s being looked at to provide not only production but as a starter. His performances against both the Cowboys and Colts have to have the coaches pleased.
His coverage has been good and his tackling sure; the crossing route where he caught T.Y. Hilton short of a first down and forcing Indy to punt was indicative of the game he had. His confidence level has to be much, much higher these days.
Honorable Mention – Brandon Bolden, Jamie Collins, Danny Amendola
Jerod Mayo: Don’t want to seem like we’re constantly piling on Mayo, but he’s really looking like he’s lost a step. Normally very stout against the run, he’s not as able to disengage from blockers like we’ve seen in the past.
With Dont’a Hightower out with a rib injury, we assumed that Mayo would naturally take his position in the Patriots sub-packages next to Jamie Collins where they go to a 4-2-5 look. But the coaches opted to go with Jonathan Freeny who struggles in coverage.
With Jon Bostic starting to get reps on STs now as he becomes acclimated to the New England system, one has to wonder if his reps will suffer even more as Bostic is always stout against the run.
Devin McCourty: D-Mac is one of the players that we always find on the up section of this section. And his value to the defense and the team as a versatile, dependable leader is without question. But he had a couple of costly penalties, one on Special Teams and one on defense (his first in over a year) that really hurt.
To add insult to injury, he dropped a gift interception on a deflected pass from Duron Harmon that could have sealed the game a bit earlier. That is a pick that McCourty normally comes down with.
Julian Edelman hurt a finger early in the Patriots win over the Colts and had some uncharacteristic drops after that. (USA TODAY Images)
Julian Edelman: Rare is the day that Edelman isn’t the Patriots leading receiver as he’s Tom Brady’s favorite go-to guy. But after injuring his finger on the Patriots first touchdown, he had trouble holding onto the football.
His bobble on a wide open pass in the flat, bounced straight up and was the first interception of Brady in 2015, a pick-six from Mike Adams that changed the complexion of the game. Edelman had a couple of other bobbles and drops during the game that obviously had a direct correlation to his hurt finger as he was trying to corral the ball into his body, something he doesn’t normally do.
He also drew a stare from Brady when he launched the football at the Colts logo after his touchdown catch. Edelman, Brady’s closest friend on the team, was trying to show the support for his teammate against the team that began the Deflategate nonsense. But perhaps Brady believed that it was too soon in the game for that or maybe didn’t think that they should have done that at all…
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Season Bill Belichick Brandon Bolden Brandon LaFell Chandler Jones Danny Amendola Devin McCourty Jabaal Sheard Jamie Collins Jerod Mayo Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Logan Ryan Malcolm Butler New England Patriots NFL Patriots Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady