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MORSE: Week 16 Patriots Observations from the No Quit Game

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
December 26, 2022 at 9:29 am ET

MORSE: Week 16 Patriots Observations from the No Quit Game(PHOTO: Dec 24, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) runs the ball against Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle DJ Reader (98) in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

In Matt Judon’s post-game press conference, he emphatically stated that “We did not quit”.  I was impressed by the Patriots’ comeback near victory against a very good Bengals team.

The Defense turned things around and shut down the Bengals in the second half.  Marcu Jones’ 69-yard Interception return for a TD seemed to wake up the team.

No, they didn’t quit, but they didn’t get rewarded either.  According to Mike Reiss who served as the pool reporter with the referees after the game.  He asked about forward progress and this is what the cowards had to say!  “In order to have forward progress, the runner has to be controlled by the Defense.”  Rhamondre Stevenson was going backward and in the control of the Bengals’ D Lineman.  “He has to be held and controlled, basically have his feet taken away.  We felt that he still had his feet. So we did not feel he was held and controlled by the Defense.  He was still free to gain yardage and then also, obviously, there was still the chance that he could fumble.”

Let me get this straight.  If a defense doesn’t wrap up his feet, then they are free to strip the ball away despite the fact the play is over because the runner is going backward and his forward progress has been stopped.  That was forward progress and the play should have been blown dead.  I am sick and tired of officials inserting themselves into the final outcomes.  That game was a terrific Patriots victory snatched away by ineffective officials.

Stevenson also had the 1st down on a critical play at the end of the game.  He was over the yard to gain by nearly a full yard when his knee went down.  This play was reviewed by New York and they got it wrong too.  What incompetency!    What about the Bourne toe tap on a sideline catch?  That play was an obvious catch but it took a Belichick Challenge to rule it a completed catch.  Why did the Patriots have to use one of their challenges to correct a blatant mistake by the officials?

The final blown call was against Josh Uche for hands to the face.  All the official saw was Uche’s hand in the O lineman’s face.  He didn’t see the O-lineman pushing up Uche’s arm so that his hand was in his face.

Why isn’t the media taking on the league, where Coach Belichick cannot complain, on this bad officiating?  That’s back-to-back games where the officials decided who would win.

  • Marcus Jones is a terrific athlete and his 69-yard INT for a TD was special. He is so fast that he outran the Bengals team and his cutback to beat Joe Burrow was incredible.  He now has a Receiving TD, Punt Return TD, and an INT for TD.  The CBS crew was wrong when they said the last player to do it was Julian Edelman in 2012.  Edelman’s returned a fumble while playing on the Kickoff team for a TD.  He did not have an INT for a TD.
  • According to “Jones, who is tied for the NCAA record with nine career return scores of kicks (six kicks, three punts), has been electric in limited opportunities with the ball in his hands.  Jones is the only player in the last 75 years to have a receiving, punt return, and interception return touchdown in the same season. He also joined Hall of Famer Deion Sanders as the only player in the Super Bowl era with a 40-plus yard TD on a reception, punt return, and interception return in their careers.
  • Kendrick Bourne was terrific with 6 catches on 9 targets for 100 yards and a TD. He also had an electric 29-yard jet sweep in the fourth quarter to set up the Patriots for the win.
  • The Patriots forced 3 turnovers and the officials gave the Bengals the game on the Stevenson non-fumble. Teams in the NFL when they have a 3-0 turnover advantage usually win.
  • On the Jamarr Chase fumble, Matt Judon had him by his catching glove strap and pulled his hand away from the ball. Chas doesn’t close the Velcro strap and that is why (well he also holds the ball like a loaf of bread) he fumbled.  It was Marcus Jones who recovered the ball.
  • Jones also led the team in tackles. He had 14 with 12 solo.  Obviously, the Bengals were targeting the diminutive Jones.  The Tee Higgins / Marcus Jones was open all day.  I’d like to see the patriots get some depth at CB and let Marcus Jones play slot receiver next year.
  • How good are the Bengals? Burrow completed 40 of 52 passes for 375 yards, and 3 TDs but had two Interceptions.  He completed his 1st 12 passes in a row and while the Patriots’ offense couldn’t do anything in the 1st quarter, the Bengals had 10 1st downs and 12 points.  The Patriots had 10 yards of total offense.
  • Devin McCourty has really slowed noticeably. He was responsible for the 1st TD to Irvin (who) when he didn’t close fast enough.  Same issue the week before in Las Vegas.  Opponents are really taking advantage of the middle of the field in the Red Zone against the Patriots.
  • I give Jonathan Jones a lot of credit for making it back into the lineup, but you could tell he was playing hurt.
  • I have no use for Tyquan Thornton. He has straight-line speed but can’t run a pass pattern, and can’t catch.  That deep ball was right in his hands.  He has the smallest hands of any receiver and runs over a 7.0 3-cone drill.  I don’t want to draft any receiver in the top 3 rounds that doesn’t run under a 7 3-cone drill.

The Patriots lost both TEs during the game.  I don’t know who ran the wrong pattern, but why were the two TEs in the same area, close enough to collide together and knock out Hunter Henry?  That’s just embarrassing.  Bad play design, bad coaching, and terrible execution.

Somehow, The Patriots’ Playoff Chances Remain Very Real Heading Into This Weekend

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.

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