The Patriots head home from Washington with their 5-0 record intact and now have a short week to prepare for the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football. The Patriots dominated the second half today and came away with an easy 33-7 win. But for the first 30 minutes it was a close one as the team led only 12-7 at the half.
Very uneven play along the offensive line, going nearly completely away from the running game and some uncharacteristic mental errors cost the team in the first half. But they made their adjustments after halftime and outscored the Redskins 21-0 after intermission. In fact, the Patriots scored 33 unanswered points.
Tom Brady passed for 348 yards and three touchdowns and Sony Michel had a big second half and finished up the day rushing for 91 yards on 18 carries.
After giving up a huge 65-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep to Steven Sims in the first quarter, the Redskins didn’t do much of anything offensively. The Patriots defense pretty much slammed the door shut after that.
Here are our takeaways from the Patriots 33-7 rout of the Redskins.
Brady Has a Bounceback Day And Finishes on a High Note:
It wasn’t all easy but overall Tom Brady had an outstanding day completing 28-42 for 348 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. In the second quarter, Brady had a red zone interception for the second week in a row.
But his three touchdowns gave him #600 for his career counting regular and postseason. Ryan Izzo is also the 72nd player to catch a touchdown from Brady. He passed Brett Favre for third all-time on the list of career passing yards. With 17 yards on Thursday, he’ll surpass Peyton Manning on the list for the #2 QB in terms of passing yards.
Brady spread the ball out to nine different receivers with three different ones [Edelman, Brandon Bolden and Ryan Izzo] scoring touchdowns. Edelman was his favorite target and had 8 catches for 110 yards and a score on 9 targets.
The Offensive Line Struggled Overall in the First Half and With Protection All Game:
The Redskins came in with the 2nd least amount of sacks in the NFL today. But they registered four sacks of Brady, and for the most part rushed only three. They registered one sack by rushing just two. The offensive line also struggled to open holes in the running game where the Skins have been getting gashed all year long.
But their adjustments worked and they began to run the ball much more effectively in the second half. Sony Michel got 91 yards on 18 carries overall with most of it coming after halftime, and most of that came running between the tackles.
With the running game going in the second half, the passing game clicked much better and the team scored three second-half touchdowns with Brady giving way to Jarrett Stidham for the final eight minutes. After running for 19 yards in the first half, the team finished with 130 yards on the ground. Maybe they can carry this over into next week.
The Defense Had Another Huge Day, Led By Dont’a Hightower:
We mentioned the hiccup in the early going on the Sims’ run for a TD, both McCourty twins had a shot at bringing him down, but give Sims credit for a beauty of a run. Kyle Van Noy was screaming for a flag for holding and Scott Zolak mentioned it as well. But after looking at the replay, it didn’t seem so.
After that, the defense was lights out. Washington had just 220 yards of offense and was just 1-11 on third down. Colt McCoy ended up with just 75 yards net passing yardage. The unit got six more sacks, eight quarterback hits, forced an interception and two fumbles recovering one.
Hightower was immense. He had eight tackles, four tackles for a loss, a pass defensed, one and a half sacks and two quarterback hits. He was a disruptive pain in the backside for McCoy and the Redskins offense all day long.
Sony Michel Got Untracked Today And Contributed in the Passing Game:
Michel has had a frustrating start to the season. But the coaches haven’t lost sight of the fact that he was a very important cog in their postseason run a year ago. After another frustrating first half, Michel and his offensive line got going by running between the tackles.
Michel had a beauty of a 25-yard run midway through the third quarter. He showed great patience and then with a nifty cut making a man miss [gasp!] before cutting to the outside and rolling for a really nice pickup before being knocked out of bounds. He finished off the drive with another really nice run, a 14-yard touchdown run. So, along with his 91-yards on the ground, Michel added another 32 on three pass receptions. It was nice to see the team getting him involved in the passing game.
James White and Brandon Bolden also chipped in nicely today. White had 72-yards combined rushing and receiving while Bolden had a pretty 29-yard touchdown pass from Brady where he ran a wheel route, isolated on a linebacker and Brady made a beautiful pass, dropping it right in the bucket.
Mike Nugent Doesn’t Fill the Foxboro Faithful With Hope:
After the Sims touchdown, Brady led the Patriots on a beautiful scoring drive, six plays, 75 yards, capped off with a Brady pass to Julian Edelman from the six to make it 7-6. Mike Nugent, who replaced the injured Stephen Gostkowski comes on for the extra point and pushes it wide right…by a large margin.
You could feel the collective groan across New England. Nugent settled down and made two chip shot field goals from 23 and 37 yards. And then he made all three extra points after that, but it wasn’t the kind of start that anyone wanted to see.
We’ll have to see how things play out but after five games in the season, the Patriots have missed five extra points. The last time they missed that many was back in 1988. So, we’ll be watching how this develops. Bill Belichick likes veterans to handle the kicking duties. Jake Bailey, on the other hand, continued his stellar rookie season, punting six times for a 47.7-yard average.
We’re on to the Giants…
Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]