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MORSE: 12 Thoughts After Patriots Find New and Inventive Ways to Lose

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
November 27, 2023 at 8:52 am ET

MORSE: 12 Thoughts After Patriots Find New and Inventive Ways to Lose(PHOTO: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Posted: Nov 27, 2023 08:52
🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

Sunday’s loss to the equally inept NY Giants is the latest chapter in the saga known as New and Inventive Ways to Lose Games. 

Some observations following this one:

1) Is Bill Belichick trying to lose?  Why would he start Mac Jones over Bailey Zappe at this point of the season.  Jones is damaged goods.  Belichick and the Patriots coaches (three different Offensive Coordinators in three years) have ruined this promising young QB.  He is beyond trying to fix. Any type of pressure and he folds and makes the stupidest plays. 

His 1st Interception was when he left the pocket and slid left.  That is a standard move for any pro QB.  They practice this type of movement, and he was clean with no player around him.  Jones throws off his backfoot and his front foot is pointing to the left sideline.  This is a broken record and it’s the third time he has done it this season.  By the way Demario Douglas was triple covered. 

Later Jones is pressured by a blitzer coming in clean and he panics and throws the ball right to LB Bobby Okereke for his second INT of the day.  The INT was returned 55 yards and set up NYG at the Patriots 26.  A few plays later (after a missed tackle by Jonathan Jones) the Giants went up 7-0.  

Bailey Zappe’s INT was returned to the Patriots 26-yard line, where the Patriots Defense held and forced a FG.  Two critical turnovers, two short fields, and the Giants score 10 points which is all they needed.

Jones was 12 of 21 for 89 yards, 4.2 YPA, 0 TDs and 2 INTs – QBR 27.8

Zappe was 9 of 14 for 54 yards, 3.9 YPA, 0 TDs and 1 INT -QBR 42     Combined 33.4 QBR

Zappe’s 9 completions went for -4 air yards.  None of his completions went further than 5 air yards from the Line of Scrimmage.

2) The defense played very well but couldn’t overcome the mistakes of the offense.  They lost the turnover battle 3-1.  The Patriots Defense held the Giants to 220 yards of total Offense.  The G-men were 4 of 13 on third down and only managed ten 1st downs. 

3) As bad as the Patriots Offense was, the Patriots had 68 plays to the Giants 50.  The Giants had two short fields off two Patriots turnovers and scored all 10 points starting at the 19- and 26-yard lines of the Patriots.   The front 7 held Saquan Barkley to 46 yards on 12 carries. 

4) Christian Barmore’s play was outstanding, and the team had 6 sacks of DeVito.  They kept containment on him, and he ran for only 6 yards on 5 carries.  I thought it was one of the better games that Anfernee Jenning and Keion White played. 

5) Jabrill Peppers and Kyle Dugger were excellent in run support.  However, some missed tackles in the secondary led to extending drives and Jonathan Jones whiffed on a tackle that resulted in the lone Giants TD,

6) Tyquan Thornton drops are a problem.  I decided to research his hand size and found that measurement comes in at just 8.25”, he has small hands.  According to an article by Bleacher Nation, written on February 23rd this year, the average hand size for males in general is 8.5 inches. The measurement is used at the NFL Scouting Combine to evaluate quarterbacks, wide receivers, and other positions where ball control is important.  The same article also mentions that hand size is an important factor when it comes to the performance of wide receivers and running backs in the NFL Combine.

Ball security is a critical aspect of the game, and the size of a player’s hands can significantly impact their ability to hold onto the ball. The largest hands in the NFL have belonged to talented receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Calvin Johnson.  I saw a clip of Thornton in practice this week running a simple comeback route and he was hit right in the hands with the pass from Jones and he dropped it. 

Sunday, Jones threw the ball slightly behind him (so the defender couldn’t get it) and he got both hands on the ball and dropped it.  Thornton’s hand measurement is lower than the average male, a full inch lower than the average NFL player and over a 1.5” smaller than the average 1st round NFL receiver (9.75”) over the last 10 year.

7) I felt the Patriots play calling was awful in the 1st half.  The Patriots were able to run the ball but got away from it.  I didn’t see enough play action passes.

8) Why didn’t the Patriots go for it at the end of the 3rd Quarter with the ball on their own 39-yard line.  There was :59 seconds left on the clock, and it was 4th and inches.  What do the Patriots have to lose?  Going for a higher draft position?  They had been successful running the ball all day.

9) The clothesline hit on Demario Douglas’ punt return was not illegal.  There is nothing in the rule book that outlaws that type of hit.  It’s a dangerous and unnecessary hit but not illegal.  If the league truly wants to regulate player safety, then they should make that type of hit illegal.  The league made the horse collar tackle illegal, they should do the same with the clothesline tackle.  Douglas, who led the team with 6 catches, was knocked out of the game by the hit.  Andrew Callahan reported that Douglas told him after the game that he does not have a concussion.

10) The Patriots Tight Ends were invisible today.  Mike Gesicki was targeted twice by Jones and after each play Jones gestured at Gesicki that he ran the wrong route.   Jones isn’t Tom Brady, and he shouldn’t be showing up his teammates during the game.  Hunter Henry and Pharoah Brown had no targets because Bill O’Brien wasn’t calling plays to throw the ball downfield.

11) It was reported that JuJu Smith-Schuster and WR Coach Troy Brown had a lengthy shouting match on the sideline.  This should be monitored to see if any backlash comes from it.

12) Now about the missed 35-yard kick by Chad Ryland.  All Pre-season we were leery of Chad Ryland’s ability to make a clutch kick in the NFL.  Michael Hurley resurrected his notes from one of the Patriots pre-season practices and his notes read wide left, wide left, and wide left on his 3 kicks on the day.  Our biggest fear was Ryland choking when the pressure was on.  He attempted no kicks in the 3 Pre-season games. 

Oh yeah, Bill Belichick the GM spent a 4th round pick #112 overall and the 10th pick in the round.  The Patriots panicked and moved up to take Ryland after the player they really wanted, Jake Moody was taken in the 3rd round #99 by San Francisco.  Moody is ranked 16th in the league this year by Pro Football Reference.  Chad Ryland is #29 of 32.

Monday Patriots Aftermath: Five Thoughts Coming off Sunday’s Loss to the Giants

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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