Here are 15 observations from the 35-0 blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles. There is no truth to the rumor that 13 Philly fans requested their money back after the game last night claiming that it wasn’t even up to the level of a High School scrimmage.
1) Who was the best Offensive Lineman for the Patriots last night? How about Yodny Cajuste! He played a flawless Left Tackle and had the highest rating for the OL by Pro Football Focus (PFF). In 22 snaps he didn’t allow a single pressure. This is the first that we have really seen of Cajuste perform. An interesting development happened in the game where Justin Herron played TE often. This may be an opportunity to add a 9th O-lineman in Cajuste and one less TE.
2) The second-team offensive line played great and opened gaping holes for Rhamondre Stevenson and JJ Taylor. They are a very experienced group except for Cajuste. Karras was a starter and captain at C for Miami last season. Redmond, Martin, and Cunningham all have starting experience in the NFL.
3) I would also like to debunk the reports immediately after the game that Philly didn’t play any of their starters and that’s why they got blown out. The fact is they held out their starting D-line and 3 O-line, most of which were over 30 (Older). The LB and secondary were all starters. The WR and RBs were starters. Unfortunately that Jalen Hurts got sick before the game and had to be checked out at the hospital. Joe Flacco and Nick Mullen were flat-out awful last night.
4) Christian Barmore had an up and down game last night. He was inconsistent against the run but did put pressure on the QB. One was a pressure that allowed Winowich to make the sack. The second was a coverage sack that took a long time to develop. Barmore didn’t give up on the play as he was originally blocked on the play. He eventually got to Mullen for a half-sack.
5) The first thing you notice about Rhamondre Stevenson is his amazing footwork. His lateral quickness is something that can’t be measured. NFL Analyst and former Patriot Ross Tucker was the color analyst for the Philly broadcast (taped from NFL Network). He proclaimed Stevenson as “sweet feet”. We already have one of those in James White. Tucker was trying to compare Stevenson to former NFL that he reminded him of. The first that came to mind was LaGarrette Blount. Cam Newton has nicknames for all the players and his for Stevenson is Eddie Lacy! Last night Stevenson force 10 missed tackles by Philly. Evident by how hard Stevenson is to bring down, PFF had him with an average of 5.6 yards after the first contact. Stevenson had another 2 TD game.
6) Philly claimed they “won” the practices and therefore didn’t have to play the scrimmage. That kind of attitude will go far during the regular season. If I remember correctly, the Tuesday practice concentrated on Red Zone work which the Patriots clearly won! The Pats were 4 of 6 in the Red Zone for the game.
7) Cam Newton was 8 for 9, 103 yards, and a touchdown. That came out to a 151.3 QB rating. He played only 17 snaps and came out with a 13-0 lead. It should have been 17-0 except for poor kicking by Quinn Nordin. Three possessions and three opportunities to score. That was the best I have seen from Newton since the Seattle game last season. I loved him stepping up in the pocket and delivering a strike to his WR. He had one play that he was trying to change at the Line of Scrimmage but had to call a Timeout. I originally thought the coaches got the play in late. However, the Philly Safety K’Von Wallace made a good move not to show him creeping into the box late in the 25-second clock. Newton saw this and tried to check out of the play, but ran out of time. In the next play, Wallace showed blitz and stuffed the run for no gain. “Glitter” Wallace got toasted on the next play. He again crept into the box from a two-high safety look. This time Newton has a perfectly executed play-action pass play called. This play-action not only held the linebackers but Wallace as well. Meyers got a free run behind them and scored on a 29-yard pass play. This is from the “king of check-downs” Newton! Interesting, Philly never blitzed Newton.
8) Mac Jones was not to be outdone. He completed 13 of 19 with three passes that should have been caught and one spike. He also completed a slip screen to Kendrick Bourne that would have gone for a big gain, but Belichick (rightfully so) through the challenge flag, which he won for an incomplete pass rather than a catch and fumble recovered by the Patriots for a 6-yard loss. Jones’s 1st scoring drive was 95 yards (the penalty pushed them back to the 5). This drive took 9 minutes and 17 plays, resulting in a Stevenson TD on a quick change of direction. He waltzed into the endzone. To start the second half the Pats went no-huddle and Jones was on point with his passes downfield. He was 5 for 5 with a nice 17-yard pass to Olzsewki when he was knocked off his spot, quickly regained his throwing position, and fired a strike to Olszewski. This drive took 3:10. . PFF has Jones as the 2nd highest-rated QB in pre-season. Interesting, they have Newton as 6th!
9) Matt Judon hasn’t played much in the 1st two games but that was enough to show just how disruptive he can be. On Philly’s over the head snap, Judon caught up to Joe Flacco and strip sacked him with Jalen Mills collecting the ball inside the Philly 10. PFF has Judon with a 94.9 rating over the 1st two pre-season games.
10) Sony Michel led the Patriots in the number of receptions (4). If Michel can become a viable receiver out of the backfield, that will only make the Patriots Offense that much more dangerous and unpredictable. He made a nice catch and run for a 1st. He kept his balance after juking a player out of his shorts, and made the 1st down yardage. He rushed 7 times for 34 yards for a 4.9 average.
11) We can’t overlook the contribution of JJ Taylor with 92 yards rushing on 12 attempts and a TD. We know Taylor can catch (3 rec). This makes for quite the stacked RB room. I am sure some NFL teams will be calling with trade offers for one of these players.
12) The Patriots put up 486 yards of total offense. Consequently, they shut down Philly and limited them to 163 yards. The Pats were 5 for 9 on 3rd down and limited Philly to 2 for 10 on third down.
13) The Patriots had a high number of penalties (8-74) which won’t make Belichick too happy. However, they overcame these setbacks with great QB play and playcalling by Josh McDaniel. The main culprit was Justin Herron the 2nd year OT from Wake Forest. He had two holding calls against him.
14) Which D lineman has had the most pressure on the QB? How about Bill Murray? The undersized DT from William and Mary has been constantly in the backfield over the 1st two games. This may not be enough to make the team but may get him another stint on the Practice Squad.
15) The Jones dropped passes included a long bomb to Harry down the sideline that Harry didn’t need to dive for. If he had kept running (the sign of a good receiver) he would have caught it in stride and easily had the TD. That was with :12 left in the first half and Harry injured his shoulder on the play. He was seen leaving the field after the game with a sling. Another pass was a ball that went right through Bourne’s hands on a 2 point conversion. Devin Asiasi should have had a short pass for a TD and Devin Ross dropped one right in his breadbasket.
Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Preseason