Early Down Improvement Key In New England’s Win
One of the things the Patriots likely spent some time looking at leading up to their game against the Saints on Sunday may have centered around their early down issues they suffered against Kansas City, which put them in some tough situations in last week’s loss.
In that game, one glaring issue that stood out was the fact Tom Brady struggled mightily on first down last week, completing just 5-of-14 (36%) passing on first down, which played a part in the fact they converted just 5-of-15 (33%) on third down. New England found themselves in 3rd-and-6 or more on 10 of those attempts, which was obviously a problem as Brady completed just 5-of-11 on the afternoon with 3 passing first downs.
But on Sunday against the Saints, it was a completely different story. Brady completed 15-of-17 (88%) for 198 yards and a touchdown, along with completing 6-of-7 (86%) on third down for 107 yards with five passing first downs including two touchdowns. They converted 6-of-12 (50%) third downs on the afternoon, including 5-of-7 in the first half as they built a 30-13 lead that the Saints couldn’t overcome.
Brady obviously had a historic afternoon after completing 30-of-39 (77%) for 447 yards and three touchdowns, but what was even more impressive was how he played in the final two quarters. The 40-year old was razor sharp in the second half, missing just three passes as he closed out the game completing 11-of-14 (79%) for 145 yards.
That’s what they needed and the fact it was done with all the injuries was even more impressive.
It was a much more productive afternoon for a team that moved the ball with better consistency this week, piling up 555 of total net offense compared to just 371 last week against the Chiefs.
Brady said that coming off of their loss to Kansas City, the goal was just to try and get it right this week. They took plenty of time to pick apart the details of what went wrong in Week 1 and did their best to make the corrections. Thankfully, it worked out.
“We try to put a lot into it every week. You don’t win every game, obviously. You try to compete as hard as you can. I would say there is definitely a level of critiquing that you do when you do lose that you don’t really do when you win and our coaches were all over us this week.”
“They want us to get it right and to get it right now. All of these games are important, going on the road it’s hard to win in this league. I thought it was a great team effort in all three phases.”
They’ll now return home to prepare to face the Texans next Sunday at GIllette Stadium.
Posted Under: 2017 Patriots Season