Tag Archives: Andre Johnson

Getting Social with Bob Socci – Three Questions For Week Six

Robert Alvarez
October 17, 2015 at 8:00 pm ET

In a this weeks column, 98.5 The Sports Hub Patriots radio play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci provides his insight and predictions for this upcoming week six matchup with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. 

Who is your breakout player for either Indianapolis or New England this week? 

“If Indianapolis is to stay in the game, the obvious choice is Andrew Luck — assuming he’s good to go, coming off his shoulder injury.  How does a three-time Pro Bowler (is his first three years in the NFL, no less) qualify as a ‘breakout player?’  Well, he has to break out of the early-season mold of this season (7 TD and a 65.1 passer rating) and the rut he’s been in opposite the Patriots (0-4 as a starter with 10 interceptions).  How? 1) Avoid the mistakes he’s been prone to make throughout his career, especially against New England 2) Keep plays alive with his mobility, which may far more important against this Pats’ pass rush than the one he’s confronted in the past and 3) Deliver the deep ball, which neither Brandon Weeden nor Blake Bortles were able to do in New England’s last two wins.”

Position matchup/battle to look for?

This relates to the first question.  There’s a lot of match ups that are pivotal — i.e., the Pats’ offensive line or even LeGarrette Blount vs. the revamped Colts’ defensive front (after all the success New England’s enjoyed on the ground in recent years).  But I’ll go with the Patriots’ secondary vs. Indy’s receivers.  Last year, with Darrelle Revis, Kyle Arrington and Brandon Browner, the Patriots totally frustrated the Colts’ fleet receivers T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief.  Except tight end Coby Fleener in the regular-season meeting, Indy’s receiving corps did very little damage to the Patriots in 2014.  But, naturally, with the ongoing changes in New England’s secondary this season — yet another move was made in the middle of the week with the addition of ex-Raven Rashaan Melvin — the Colts must count on different results this time around to have a chance to keep with their counterparts.  Plus, Andre Johnson, who did not look good earlier in the season, caught two touchdown passes in Week 5 at Houston.”

The Patriots will need a better performance from their offensive line this week vs Indianapolis

What Patriots unit do you believe has to make the most improvement/adjustments going into this week?

“For Tom Brady’s sake, let’s hope it’s the offensive line as a whole in pass protection.  After surrendering five sacks (and eight quarterback hits) at Dallas, as well as the subsequent loss of injured Nate Solder, the Pats need a better performance from the unit this week.  If Robert Mathis and Trent Cole have anything left in their tanks as pass rushers, this is the week they’ll need to tap into it for the Colts’ collective sakes.  Also, of course, the Pats’ rushing success (657 yards the last three games vs. Indianapolis) can only continue if they get a better push from the offensive line this week.  It’s been somewhat disappointing thus far when the Patriots have lined up ‘heavy’ in short-yardage situations and run the ball — save for Brady’s sneaks.  Indy returns only 8 percent of its defensive line snaps from last season and is allowing 3.8 yards per carry.”

Bob Socci has held the position of Patriots radio broadcaster since the beginning of the 2013 NFL season, taking over for longtime play-by-play man Gil Santos. He has called two AFC Championship games and the Patriots Super Bowl XLIX victory in February 2015.  He can also be heard weekly during football season on Patriots.com. 

Patriots – Colts, Who Has the Razor’s Edge? Key Matchups

Steve Balestrieri
October 15, 2015 at 7:31 am ET

The New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts meet on Sunday Night Football for a rematch of last years’ AFC Championship Game. The primetime matchup will be televised by NBC with the announcing crew of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michelle Tafoya on the call. Kick-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.

Indianapolis (3-2) has gotten off to a slow start in 2015 and although they’ve won their last three games, they haven’t been the team that many experts picked to represent the AFC in this season’s Super Bowl. Last week backup QB Matt Hasselback led the team to a 27-20 win over the Houston Texans.

Quarterback Andrew Luck and CB Greg Toler are expected to play for the Colts this week which should be a big boost for the team on both sides of the ball.

New England (4-0), won at Dallas last week 30-6 after a slow start to the game that saw Tom Brady sacked five times in the first half. But the offense made their adjustments and Brady was laser-sharp in the second half going 10-11 for 165 yards and two touchdowns.  More importantly, they allowed zero sacks.

The defense held the Cowboys to a pair of field goals and generating two turnovers. It was their best performance of the year to date but in the process they lost LB Dont’a Hightower to a rib injury. His status is unknown for Sunday.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our  “Razor’s Edge”  column in 2015 to give a quick break down on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.

Series History: The Patriots and Colts will meet for the 80th time on Sunday and this series has been dominated by New England. The Patriots hold a 50-29 edge overall including a 21-17 advantage on games played in Indy.

The Patriots have won the last six meetings including two last season; a 42-20 win in Indianapolis and a 45-7 win in the AFC Championship Game in New England.

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.

First up is the Patriots offense:

Patriots 2015 Opponents, Five First Impressions of the Colts

Steve Balestrieri
October 14, 2015 at 6:38 am ET

The Patriots go back on the road this week as they travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game.

The game is slated for a prime time Sunday Night Football on NBC. Kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. and NBC’s announcing crew will consist of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth handling play-by-play and analyst duties with Michelle Tafoya on the sidelines.

The Colts (3-2), won their third game in a row last Thursday night with a 27-20 win over the Houston Texans. Running back Frank Gore had 98 yards rushing on 22 carries and WR Andre Johnson had his best game of the season with 6 catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns against his former team.

Quarterback Andrew Luck is slated to return to action this week from his injury, he was a full participant in practice on Monday. Another sign that he’s fully healthy was the team releasing QB Josh Johnson early this week.

The Patriots (4-0), overcame a slow first half to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 30-6 on Sunday. Tom Brady was sacked five times in the first half but was very sharp going 10-11 for 165 yards and two touchdowns after halftime to lead the Patriots.

The Patriots defense held Dallas to just a pair of field goals and forced two turnovers. This was easily the best game of the season for the defense. They held Brandon Weeden to only 188 yards passing and the Cowboys to only 264 yards in total offense.

Here are our Five First Impressions of the Colts:

Focus on the Trenches Once Again: The Patriots have dominated the last few meetings between the two teams and have done so by completely winning the battle up front on both sides of the ball. That will once again be a key area to focus on again as the Colts have revamped their defensive line with three new starters.

With Arthur Jones down with injury, the Colts now go with David Parry as the nose tackle, flanked by Kendall Langford and Henry Anderson at defensive end on the defensive front. This will be a key area to watch. The Patriots with LaGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray have dominated in the running game for the last three meetings averaging 219 yards rushing and this is something the Colts must improve upon this time.

The offensive line play has improved in recent weeks and with Gore finally giving Indy a running game, it will take a lot of pressure off of Luck to have win the game single handedly. Their play against an improved Patriots front seven will be another key area to watch. Pass protection for Luck will be an area that Indy will want to improve upon as the Patriots have been able to get to him and force him into bad decisions and throws in recent meetings.

Turnovers Plaguing The Colts: Through the first five games of 2015, Indianapolis ranks 31st in the NFL with a minus seven turnover ratio. Colts quarterbacks have tossed seven interceptions and the team has lost five fumbles. They’ve only been able to add five interceptions and no fumble recoveries yet on the season.

Facing a Patriots team that is always in the top five of turnover ratio and is lighting up the scoreboards for over 37 points per game, this is one area that the Colts coaches will be driving home all week.

Losing the turnover battle against New England this week, would almost certainly spell defeat for the Colts. And with a defense that has done well at creating some turnovers against Tom Brady in the past, this will be a prime time for Indy to force Brady into his first interception of the season.

Will New Offensive Players Gore, Johnson Hold Up: The Colts in free agency this season opted to beef up the offensive side of the ball by bringing in two big signings in Frank Gore and Andre Johnson. But one has to wonder if the age of both players will impact their effectiveness down the stretch.

Gore at 32 is at an age where big, powerful running backs begin to show the wear and tear of their profession. He easily had his best game of the season last week and gave the offense a needed shot in the arm.

The bigger question is, can he continue to be an effective runner late into the season and in the playoffs for Indianapolis? The Colts haven’t had an effective running game in years and if he begins to wear down, they’ll back to square one.

Johnson also had his best game of the season with a solid effort against his former team. He looks like he’s lost a step in the passing game but the emergence of Donte Moncrief as the #2 WR behind T.Y. Hilton may ease Johnson into the complimentary 3rd WR role, which he can still be effective at.

Pressure is on Luck this Sunday: When he entered the league, Andrew Luck was touted as the next great QB and he’s put up some great numbers. But in each meeting with the Patriots, the press, ever anxious to anoint him as the new top QB of the league and passing by Brady, he’s failed badly.

Luck is still looking for his first win against New England and has yet to play an impressive game against a Bill Belichick defense. After a much hyped offseason where the Colts spent free agency and their top draft pick on offensive players, they started poorly and Luck, prior to his shoulder surgery was off to the worst start in his career with  five touchdowns and seven interceptions in three games.

Indy has plenty of offensive weapons for him to choose from, but Luck is going to have to limit the big mistakes that have plagued him against New England in the past. Perhaps now, with the expectations tempered by the Colts slow start will be a perfect opportunity for him to finally have a big game against the Patriots.

Indy Linebackers have tough test: Facing the Patriots this week, the Indianapolis linebackers will have a tough task. The Patriots love to mix things up in the running game with LaGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis. This is something they’ve been successful doing in the past and the Colts linebackers will have to be active in run support.

But with Lewis out of the backfield coupled with Rob Gronkowski in the passing game, the task becomes even larger. If there’s one area that is the most glaring matchup that favors New England, it will be the passing game targeting the linebackers, an area that the Colts haven’t addressed this season.

They don’t cover the tight ends exceptionally well and Gronkowski will be a big focus of the defense this week. Even getting back CB Greg Toler this week, this will be an area where the Colts will not only have to improve, it will be an area the Patriots will look to exploit.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.