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MORSE: 15 Observations From Game 6 – Patriots vs Cowboys

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
1 year ago at 6:00 am ET
Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season

MORSE: 15 Observations From Game 6 – Patriots vs CowboysDavid Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

I am so frustrated by the performance of this team.  I don’t take moral victories … a moral victory is a LOSS!  I had hoped going into this game that the Patriots would be close in the 4th quarter, with an opportunity to win.  They did that, only to give it away with a porous secondary.  Don’t be fooled by the final score, it should have been 53 – 29.  Dak Prescott gave away two TDs with an End Zone interception that was his fault, and he fumbled at the goal line.

  1. A loss is a loss. The Patriots are finding new and creative ways to lose games.  All they needed was a stop by their defense with 2:11 seconds left.  No, the secondary acts like a sieve and lets everything pass through them.  This is a recurring theme that the defense can’t get off the field late in the game when they need to make a stop to secure the game.  The frustrating thing is they could be 5-1 with a little more discipline and consistency.
  2. Dallas has more talent than the Patriots do. CeeDee Lamb is un-coverable.  He shredded the Patriots secondary for 9 catches on 11 targets for 149 yards, and 2 TDs.   The Patriots don’t have the team speed to match up with the Cowboys’ receivers.  Their top three receivers (Cooper, Lamb, and Wilson) are better than any of the Patriots receivers.  Why can’t Bill Belichick draft and develop Wide Receivers?  Is the offense so complicated they cannot handle it?  Veteran wide receivers that came here (Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Demaryius Thomas, Antonio Brown, and Eric Decker) couldn’t handle the Patriots receiver reads.  The only Vet that did was Randy Moss and he is Hall of Famer.
  3. Some of the Unrestricted Free Agents on Offense have not lived up to the contracts they signed. Specifically, Kendrick Bourne should have had that slant pass from Jones, instead of it bounces off his hands into the hands of Trevon Diggs for a pick-six.  Later in overtime, Nelson Agholor drops a very catchable ball and that leads to a stalled drive and punt.  Dallas proceeded to score the winning TD on that drive.  The Pats’ defense was gassed after being on the field for 89 plays.    Jonnu Smith doesn’t get off the hook either.  He has lost all his confidence and is a shell of himself.   I think he is occupying a roster spot that could go to a more productive player.
  4. On the winning TD, Jalen Mills was 8 yards away from CeeDee Lamb. Lamb lined up in the left slot and Mills was playing outside technique to force Lamb inside.  Lamb jogged off the line of scrimmage (no press coverage or jam at LOS) then seeing there was no safety help in the middle of the field, accelerated across the field while waving his arm, leaving Mills in his dust.  Too easy!  Blown coverage or the wrong technique, it doesn’t matter.  Another all too common mental mistake that is causing the Patriots to lose games.
  5. The secondary was flat-out awful giving up 445 yards in the air. However, that number is very deceiving.  Mills was the main culprit having been targeted 7 times and giving up 5 receptions for 75 yards and 2 TDs.  I thought JC Jackson had a bad game, but the stats don’t bear that out.  Jackson was targeted 8 times and gave up 4 catches for 48 yards.  That means the Patriots defensive scheme didn’t have Jackson on Lamb all day.  Why?  So 4 of Lamb’s 9 catches were against Jackson, who also had 2 Pass Breakups.  There was also a questionable Defensive Pass Interference in the end zone against Jackson.
  6. Prescott completed 10 passes to his backs (Elliott had 7 and Pollard 3). The TE’s accounted for 6 more catches.  Prescott had all day to pass.  Yes, Dallas got called for 5 Offensive Holding penalties and 2 Hands-to-the-Face penalties.  The Patriots had little pressure on Prescott all day because Dallas holds on every play.  They just had an officiating crew that would call it 5 times.  The Patriot had no sacks.
  7. Please explain to me why the two penalties against the Cowboys OG Connor Williams weren’t marched off against Dallas? There were 37 seconds left on the clock at the end of the game with a 2nd down and 10 yards to go at the NE 40 yard line.   Williams was initially called for holding.  Then he was assessed a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for complaining vehemently.  Unsportsmanlike conduct was a dead ball penalty and in my opinion, should have been assessed after the initial penalty was marked off.  Instead, the refs only gave the Patriots the choice of the two penalties.  If both were enforced the Cowboys would have been pushed back to their own 35-yard line instead of the 45.  One pass for 25 yards and they are in FG range for the game-tying FG.  Ten more yards would have required running another play and completion at the least.
  8. Dallas kept the Patriots in the game with 12 penalties for 115 yards. However, the officials blew a call in Overtime by not calling a facemask on Dallas covering Nelson Agholor.  On the 3rd and 3 from the NE 46, the pass was a back-shoulder fade that Agholor reach back for but he was raked across the facemask, jerking him back.
  9. Cowards that is what Bill Belichick and his coaching staff are. In OT It’s 4th down and 3 at the NE 46 with 7:53 left.  The Patriots defense is gassed and has nothing left in the tank.  Rather than go for it they punt.  According to Evan Lazar, the analytics says the play was to go for it.  Bill Belichick defended it this morning on the WEEI Greg Hill show by stating they were playing for field position, in which Dallas started at their own 20-yard line.  The second instance was at the end of the 1st half with 1:30 left on the clock, the Patriots kneeled down rather than attempt to get into FG position.
  10. Isn’t it time to take the handcuffs off Mac Jones? The kid has proven he makes sound decisions. The interception was not his fault.  Sure he will take the blame because he doesn’t want to throw a teammate under the bus, but clearly Kendrick Bourne should have had that pass.  He was 2 for in the red zone with TD passes and should have had a 3rd but for a holding penalty on James Ferentz nullifying a Jakobi Meyers 25 yard TD.
  11. That Ferentz penalty was a killer. Another case of one person breaking down and the play was nullified.  To make matters worse, the very next play blew right by RT Yodny Cajuste and a strip-sack, punishing hit on Mac Jones.  Turnover, and instead of being up 21-7, the momentum turns.  The fumble resulted in an FG by Dallas.  That was 10 points off the two Patriots turnovers.
  12. It’s been a revolving door at the Offensive Line tackle positions.  RT Cajuste was replaced immediately after giving up the strip-sack.  If I can see it on TV, Patriots OL coach Carmen Bricillo must be able to see it.  Cajuste can’t play the right side.  Consequently, Michael Owenu can’t play the left side.  He replaced Cajuste at RT.  Isaiah Wynn fanned against Randy Gregory and he too was replaced, this time by Justin Herron.
  13. Mac Jones was ranked as the 20th QB out of 32 starters in the NFL. The last 4 (29-32) were all rookies, Trevor Lawrence, Davis Mills, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields.  Trey Lance was not listed because he is not the Denver starter.   Jones hit the 70% completion mark for the 5th time in 6 games.   Overall for the season, he is at 71% (115 completions on 220 attempts).  Mac Jones is not the teams’ problem.  It’s the lack of skilled players around him, especially at WR.
  14. The running backs played well, especially Damien Harris who hit the century mark with some hard running yesterday. He did not get stopped for a loss at all yesterday.  He had 8 rushes of 5+ yards, 2 of over 20 yards and a 6.72 average, and a TD.  The Pats ran for 120 yards on 27 rushes and a 4.4 average.  Dallas was held to 121 yards on 31 rushes and a 3.93 average.  Rhamondre Stevenson failed to pick up a blitzing safety off of play-action.  It was a difficult player to pick up, but it forced Jones to dump off the pass.  The Patriots miss James White in this situation.   JJ Taylor was inactive again.  If he was going to be inactive this many times, why did they trade Michel?
  15. The Patriots are playing un-Patriot like football. They are the ones making the critical mistakes that shoot themselves in the foot.  We have had such a great run of 20 years with outstanding fundamentally sound football that seeing the breakdowns by individuals at different times in the games, stalling drives or giving the opponents opportunities or scores has been frustrating.  This week, it’s a blocked punt because of a missed assignment, coverage lapse when you think you have inside help from the safety, missed block for a strip-sack, holding call brings back a TD pass, pass interference in the end zone.  In order to get back on the winning side, the Patriots must eliminate these breakdowns.  They could easily be 5-1 at this point of the season rather than 2-4.

Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season

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