Yeah, that’s what I like to see! That was a terrific comeback in a game that the Patriots nearly played perfectly. They had one turnover in the 4th quarter, and that nearly turned a victory into a loss. Here are my quick observations.
1) It all started with the Offensive Line. I believe that was the 7th different combination of lineman but by far was their best performance as a group. As Evan Lazar pointed out at one point in the game Mac Jones was only pressured on 27% of his dropbacks. Moving Michael Onwenu to Right Tackle should have been done earlier in the season. I can’t wait to see the O line ratings this week. That may have been Cole Strange’s best performance in his brief career. When Trent Brown was out, Vedarian Lowe was a turnstile at Left Tackle. Brown returned for that final drive.
2) Mac Jones was at his best today. Jones was 25 of 30 and 2 TDs with no interceptions for a 126.7 rating. In his game winning drive, Jones was 7 of 8, and the one he missed was a wide-open Douglas at the goal line that he threw too high. He was sacked only once in a play that he turtled against the rush.
3) The Patriots only ran for a total of 96-yards, but they averaged 4.0 per attempt. Stevenson had 6 catches for 51 yards and none bigger than his 34-yard catch and run on the game winning drive.
4) We all wanted to see what Demario Douglas could do and he showed up today. Douglas had a 20-yard run, a 25-yard Punt Return and 4 catches for 54 yards. He made two diving catches and another contested catch. He just balled out.
5) It appeared that DeVante Parker was benched for no accountability last week, as he had one catch, the same number that Jalen Reagor and Tyquan Thornton had. I think Thornton was open deep a few times, but Jones was only using three step drops and getting rid of the ball quickly. The Patriots have used all their allowed call-ups of Reagor from the Practice Squad and I believe he should take Parker’s spot on the roster going forward. Parker didn’t take any responsibility after dropping that big pass from Jones last week that may have put the Patriots in position for a game winning Field Goal.
6) The Tight Ends each had 2 catches apiece. Pharoah Browns 2 catches were for 51 yards. Bill O’Brien finally used Mike Gesicki like he should be used. It was a mismatch size wise at the goal line and Jones threw it where he should have, up high and on a line, Gesecki is not a TE, he is a big slot receiver. The Patriots ran the exact same play where Jones overthrew the smaller Douglas. Gesecki had the smaller Bills CB Beneford covering him with outside shade and Gesecki faked outside, and Jones hit him on a quick slant.
7) I liked Bill O’Brien’s use of motion. It caused confusion in the Bills secondary and indicated if they were in zone or man defense.
8) On the defense, Christian Barmore was a beast. He was constantly beating Bills Guard O’Cyrus Torrence. The line held the Bills to 81 yards rushing and that included Allen who had 7 carries for just 17 yards. They forced Allen out of the pocket and shut off his running lanes. Allen was terrible when throwing on the run. They only had one sack but considering they held him to a 2.4 average, I’ll take that every day.
9) Jabrill Peppers had that big interception on the Bills 1st play and set the tone for a big 1st quarter. He looked like a vintage Ty Law dropping off his coverage to make the INT. He also led the team in tackles.
10) Despite his 9 tackles (only 2 solo) I thought Ja’Whaun Bentley had a very bad game. He can’t cover anyone and should not be on the field in 3rd and long. He helped make Dalton Kincaid look like an All-Pro. Kincaid had 8 catches.
11) The secondary got a big boost from the return of Jack Jones and Jon Jones. Stefon Diggs was limited nicely by the team. Diggs is still going to make plays and he did score when they tackled poorly. The penalties against the Jack Jones are a concern. That roughing the Quarterback penalty was a crap call. Jones hit him with his shoulder underneath his facemask and Allen jerked his head back like he was hit in the facemask to draw the call. Later Christian Barmore was called for roughing the Quarterback and that call was questionable as well. Barmore completed his tackle and was called because all his weight came done on Allen. How does he avoid that?
12) I don’t like seeing Kyle Dugger at Free Safety, I would much rather see Jalen Mills out there. I can’t believe I wrote that, but Mills appeared to take charge out there and moved players into position. He is just very slow for the position. Without Marcus Jones, Myles Bryant is forced to play the slot corner. I would like to see Jon Jones at Free Safety. Play Jack Jones and JC Jackson at boundary corners freeing up Jon Jones at Free Safety.
13) Please don’t call a QB sneak with Mac Jones again. He is not a runner! He is not big enough, strong enough. I would rather see a direct snap.
The Patriots have another tough AFC East match-up next weekend down in Miami, when they play the Dolphins on Sunday at 1:00pm.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary