DeGuglielmo Gets Game Ball in 27-10 win
The Patriots routed the Redskins easily 27-10 in a workman-like approach on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Tom Brady and LaGarrette Blount were the big stars of the offense as the Patriots rolled easily to their second 8-0 start in team history. Brady completed 26 of 39 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw an ill-advised interception in what was a sloppy but productive first quarter.
Blount rushed 29 times for 129 yards and a touchdown in what was his biggest workload of the season. The Patriots took the opening kickoff and marched down the field easily with Brady finishing off the drive with a touchdown pass to Edelman. Although they turned the ball over twice with a pick and an Edelman fumble, the offense set the tone early in this one and they cruised after that.
By the ten minute mark the Patriots had more touchdowns (2) than the Redskins had plays from scrimmage (1). Washington didn’t have the offensive weapons to challenge after that and this one was never in doubt.
But the victory was a costly one for New England. Dion Lewis went down with a knee injury in the second half and the prognosis isn’t good. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that there was looseness in his knee which usually means an ACL type injury. Lewis is scheduled for an MRI on Monday morning. Brandon Bolden and Blount finished up in the backfield for the Patriots as James White was inactive.
Sebastian Vollmer left in the first half with what was described as a head injury which probably means a concussion. Entering the game with six healthy offensive linemen, Vollmer’s left them with five and TE Michael Williams played some right tackle as did C Bryan Stork who returned in his first action since training camp.
DeGuglielmo Deserves Big Kudos: With the absolute injury epidemic along the offensive line the Patriots had a left tackle (Cameron Fleming) who was on the practice squad a few weeks ago playing left tackle, a position he’s never played before even in high school. Stork was playing right tackle as was a tight end Williams and the Patriots offense still scored 27 points.
The fact that they still operated at a high level despite these injuries is a feather in the cap for the 2nd year Patriots offensive line coach. DeGuglielmo is doing a magnificent job with his charges and the offensive continues to hum along. He is preparing his players to move anywhere along the line and as scary as the situation is right now, he’s been outstanding at allaying any fears about the offensive line. We wrote about him in our last Sunday news and notes, remarking on the job he’s doing and it needs repeating again.
While the play-calling definitely got more conservative with the makeshift line in the second half, they were still able to move the ball and scored a 4th quarter, 18-yard touchdown on a nice pass from Brady to Brandon Bolden , his first ever touchdown reception. Rob Gronkowski wasn’t targeted as much on the day and had a four catch, 47 yard effort for the game.
Defense With a Solid Effort: Once again the Patriots defense put out another solid effort limiting the Redskins to just three points until a garbage time drive scored their only touchdown with just 20 seconds left in the game.
Redskins’ running backs averaged only 2.5 yards per carry with Matt Jones carrying 11 times for 27 yards and Alfred Morris carrying four times for 10 yards. Kirk Cousins completed 22 of 40 passes for 217 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
But he was victimized all day with terrible drops by his receiver core, seven in all. But when all was said and done, he had only 134 yards passing before that final garbage time drive of 83 yards, all in the air.
Malcolm Butler was matched up against DeSean Jackson for most of the day and held the explosive Washington receiver to just three catches for 15 yards. It was a testament to how well he played (with over the top help), that we didn’t hear his name called much. Logan Ryan put together another solid performance and came away with his team leading fourth interception.
While the Skins offense won’t be confused with some of the better ones in the NFL, it was still a solid effort by the Patriots giving up a total of 254 total yards on the day.
LaFell Rounding into Shape: Brandon LaFell had a nice game for the Patriots on Sunday catching five passes for 102 yards. After missing all of the spring and summer, his first action since the Super Bowl was the game a few weeks ago against the Jets.
Since that one where he dropped half a dozen passes, he’s been progressively getting better and more in sync with Brady. Sunday was his best effort yet and makes the offense that much more dangerous. He was wide open for a deep touchdown early in the game but Brady was under pressure and was hit as he let the ball go and LaFell had to wait for the ball to come down. It was still a 48-yard reception, the longest of the day.
The Patriots move on to take on the New York Giants next week in the Meadowlands. The Giants offense should present a big challenge for the Patriots defense as Eli Manning and the Giants passing game has plenty of weapons.
The Giants defense has been horrid but with the return of Jason Pierre-Paul, gives them a pass rusher that can wreak havoc in the backfield. Given the state of the Patriots offensive line, that can’t be overlooked. We’ll have more about that next week.
So only two teams remain undefeated in the AFC with the Denver loss…We’re on to the Giants.
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