The word fan is a derivative of fanatic. I am first and foremost a Patriots fanatic. My fandom goes back to the days when my father would take me to the Patriots Pre-season practices at Phillips Academy in Andover during the early 60’s. It pains me to watch the team play the way they did in Frankfurt. Watching this game, I have never sworn at the TV as much as I did today. These are my observations from today’s game.
1) I wouldn’t have waited until that ill-fated interception to pull Mac Jones. He made a few bone-headed plays early in the game and I would have pulled him then. He missed a wide open Rhamondre Stevenson on a swing pass, never looking in his direction. On the unforgiveable interception, Jones continues to choke under the pressure of the moment and completely forgets about his mechanics. He threw off his back foot and underthrew a wide-open Hunter Henry. On that throw, his left foot was pointing towards the left sideline, instead of at the target, and all his weight was on his back foot. He was falling backwards when he threw the ball. He just doesn’t have the arm strength to make those kinds of throws.
2) Bill O’Brien needs to take some of the blame too! Third and 2, and you have been running the ball down the throats of the Colts. Run the ball!!! Tell your Offensive lineman to man up and go out and get that critical 1st down, don’t pass the ball.
3) The O-line pass blocking was atrocious. They gave up 5 sacks in the first half. DeForest Buckner was a beast and owned the O-line. They made Colts’ backup DE Dayo Odeyingbo look like an All Pro. He had 3 sacks and another pressure. Jones was pressured on 50% of his drop backs in the 1st half. Jones finished the half 10 of 11 passing. That stat was remarkable based upon the pressure. In second half O’Brien let the O-line loose and their blocking opened up huge holes for Stevenson and Elliott. The Offense made 21 1st downs and held the ball for 34:25 as compared to the Colts 14 1st downs and 25:35 of Time of Possession.
4) Special Teams were a disaster for the Patriots today. It started with an ill-advised Kick Off return by Ty Montgomery. Patriots start at the 20, not 25. They push the ball down the field 65 yards and stall out. What if they had those extra 5 yards? Pats settle for an FG. On the ensuing Kickoff, Ryland kicks it 65 yards and the result is a 43 KO return to put Indy in great Field Position. Speaking of Field Position, the Colts pinned the Patriots deep in their territory all game. These are the Patriots starting Field Position for the game; 20, 25, 18, 20, 13 in the 1st half. The Pats intercepted Minshew and started at the 50, their only time beyond their own 30 all game. The other second half starting spots were 6, 24, and 26. Bryce Baringer had a 62.5 average per punt, but he missed two opportunities to pin the Colts in their own zone by missing the opportunity to drop the punt inside the 20. What was the play with no return man back? Why don’t you just tell the other team that you are trying to block the kick rather than set up a return and get good field position? Indy completely flipped field position on that play.
5) The Patriots’ Defense stood tall all day. They held the Colts Offense to 10 points. For the season the Colt s have averaged 26.5 points per game. The Colts’ running game was one of the top rushing offenses in the league and they held Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss (the #2 rusher in the league) to 2.7 yards per carry. Godchaux, Barmore and Guy held the Line of Scrimmage forcing the Colts into many 3rd and long plays.
6) The defense couldn’t pressure Gardner Minshew all day and had no sacks. Several times they lost containment and allowed Minshew to escape and extend plays that resulted in broken play completions. On one play, White had him pinned in the pocket, but Minshew made White look like a top, spinning him around.
7) Joe Judge and Cam Achord need to go. The Patriots Special Teams are amongst the worst in the league. Chad Ryland missing that kick inside the 40 is unforgiveable. Not only did they waste a 4th round pick on a kicker but they gave away Mr. Consistency Nick Folk who would have made that kick.
8) I hate seeing Steve Belichick use Kyle Dugger at Free Safety. That’s a waste of Dugger’s talent. Because of injuries and JC Jackson’s issues, they must use Jonathan Jones at CB. He has the ideal skill set for the Free Safety position.
9) Demario Douglas had a very good game with 6 catches on 9 targets for 84 yards. His big play was a 30-yard catch and run to end the 1st half.
10) Jahlani Tavai did a good job replacing Ja’Whaun Bentley in the middle. He finished the day with 7 tackles and a big pass deflection that resulted in Myles Bryant’s Interception to start the second half.
11) Bryant’s play at DB was awful all day.
12) Greg Bedard was asked in the Patriots Post Game show “Does Belichick step aside?” Bedard responded that the situation was highly unlikely. The question was followed up with “Are the players still playing for Bill?” Bedard answered in a the affirmative.
13) I didn’t like the calls against Jahlani Tavai for a 15-yard Personal Foul, Unnecessary Roughness against a defenseless receiver. That was a clean hit, with Tavai’s helmet on the other side of the receiver’s body. It was a clean shoulder hit, a good football play. Later, JuJu Smith-Schuster was called for not getting set before the ball was snapped. He was the man in motion and doesn’t have to get set. They called it illegal shift because he didn’t get set. That wiped out an 18-yard run by Elliot, but the Patriots did overcome that penalty. They didn’t overcome the brainfart by Mac Jones with the crucial interception.
Botton line is that this game was there for the taking and the Patriots found new and inventive ways to lose the game. When it counted, Mac Jones folded like Tony ”tuck” Eason. I saw a video of Bill O’Brien laying Jones out in lavender. I believe it was after that attempted underhanded forward pass to Rhamondre Stevenson. Jones completely missed the wide-open Stevenson in the flat, not looking his way until he was in the grasp of the defenders. Jones is cooked like a Thanksgiving turkey. There is no way the Patriots can bring him back now, and they shouldn’t. Bailey Zappe isn’t the answer either, but he may get his shot. I would like to see what Will Grier has, if anything.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary