The New England Patriots defeated the Washington Redskins 27-10 on Sunday afternoon.
Here’s how the Patriots graded out in week nine. —
Offense: B –
The Patriots offense started off rolling Sunday, but they had plenty of hiccups in week nine. Tom Brady threw an uncharacteristic interception, Julian Edelman was stripped, Dion Lewis went down with a season-ending knee injury and the unit looked out of sync.
Brady and the offense has steam rolled opponents to this point, but New England has faced more resistance the last few weeks. It was the first time since week one New England has not hit the 30-point mark on the score board.
LeGarrette Blount rushed for 29 times, 129 yards and a touchdown. He was running hard, finding success between the tackles and getting to the second-level of Washington’s defense. While he tried to keep the offense on track, injuries across the offensive line continued to pile up.
Left tackle Sebastian Vollmer left the contest with a head injury, forcing a patchwork offensive line to shuffle the deck once again. Cameron Fleming moved from right tackle to the left side, then center Bryan Stork, in his first game this season, played right tackle. The Patriots had to keep extra tight ends on the right side to help Stork at times and it clearly limited what they could do on the field. Luckily for them, the game was firmly in hand by that point.
Defense: B +
Another game, another opposing offense that’s unable to capitalize on their opportunities. Give New England credit, however, they’ve stepped up over the last few weeks and look improved in several areas. With that being said, the Redskins offensive weapons couldn’t hang on to the ball and if they had, the game might have been a little more competitive.
One defensive player that has come on lately is Alan Branch. The big defensive tackle is playing terrific, controlling his gaps and making a difference up front. He’s one of the many reasons the Patriots have been so stout against the run. He had two big plays on Washington’s drive to start the second half.
The Patriots were able to shut down Washington’s ground game, which put more pressure on Kirk Cousins to perform. While Cousins wasn’t terrible, the Redskins’ offense was much easier to defend.
Special Teams: B +
The Patriots came out aggressive Sunday, kicking an onside kick after they scored on their opening drive. Washington receiver Ryan Grant had the ball bounce out of his hands and gave New England another possession. The Pats were unable to score, but it set up field position in their favor and set the tone for the contest.
While New England typically has strong special teams play, it was an average performance overall.
The Patriots move to 8-0 on the season, but this game left a bad taste in your mouth as a fan. The injury to Lewis is tough, and perhaps we won’t know how it will affect this team until the season comes to a close.
Along with the Lewis injury, Vollmer’s status moving forward is a huge concern. The state of the offensive line could cause big problems if the group does not get healthy soon. On a brighter note, Duron Harmon looks like he avoided anything major after a knee injury knocked him out of Sunday’s contest.
New England came out and took care of business Sunday and Washington really never had a handle on the contest. The Patriots looked far superior and now will travel to face the New York Giants in week 10. More on that game later in the week.
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