NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed
With a nice definitive victory over a great team at home, now we all just hope that all the injuries we saw today were minor. Brady and his offensive line had another great game slicing apart the Chargers defense.
This game and Monday’s has really shown that we’ve never seen a Patriots team with this many weapons on offense. Brady was notable for spreading the ball around before Moss and Welker showed up, but now we’re seeing extremely talented players for Brady to spread the ball around to. This will be a tough team to stop in 2011.
-The no huddle offense continues to impress. The combination of Woodhead, Hernandez, Gronkowski, Branch and Welker is so hard for defenses to defend. Since Hernadez, Gronkowski and Woodhead can all line up outside, it’s constantly putting San Diego on their toes. Hernandez can also line up at FB if they want to line up in a more standard I formation.
-Gronkowski had a rough first quarter from a blocking perspective with a holding penalty and letting up a sack, but his 2nd quarter TD more than made up for it.
-The offensive line continues to be one of the best in the game. The only pressure I’ve noticed was either off Hernandez or through Woodhead. Solder came in early as a 3rd TE/T, but hasn’t been used as such since.
-Lots of interesting Safety notes early. Barrett was screwing up early, most notably on the jump ball Malcom Floyd caught when he apparently thought he could just jump and let the ball come to him. Lots to packages with three S early. Chung has been up on the line to cover Gates while Brown and Ihedigbo were back deep late in the 2nd quarter. Chung’s been doing great against Gates, might as well keep him there.
-McCourty continues to struggle. Let’s not worry yet, but he hasn’t been the player we saw last year so far. Dowling has been impressive, he hasn’t seen a ball thrown his way so far. Arrington has struggled big time against Jackson. That’s a matchup the Chargers will continue to attack.
-Pats have done a great job against Tolbert as I predicted. Mathews isn’t a complete enough back at this point for the Chargers to use him to his potential against the Pats. We haven’t seen the Patriots pass rush come up big yet, but the D has come up big when it’s mattered only allowing 7 points.
-Great play and run back by Wilfork. A lot of criticism on McCourty for block in back, but he might have saved a fumble.
-Pats started with three down linemen, didn’t see that at all last week.
-Hernandez always seems to get open when he runs routes as a FB
-Some injuries killed a lot of the Patriots momentum coming from the first half. We saw injuries to: Patrick Chung, Aaron Hernandez, Kyle Arrington, James Ihedigbo, Albert Haynesworth, Zoltan Mesko and we never saw Ras-I Dowling come back from the first half.
-Chung’s injury might have made the biggest difference. Chung does a lot of big things on defense really containing the rush, covering the tight end and he’s the best open field tackler in the secondary.
-McCourty continued to struggle. He was going up against a great WR in Vincent Jackson, but he was also getting burned out there. One thing he really seemed to struggle at was finding the ball in the air. He wasn’t given much help over the top with Chung out and Sergio Brown focusing on Gates.
-The Pats rarely blitzed Rivers, especially in the second half. The conservative approach worked though.
-BenJarvus Green-Ellis did his best Clock Killin’ Corey Dillon impression in the second half, huh? That’s where BJGE will really excel this season since he won’t be in with the core no huddle offense.
-With Mesko out, it was an easy decision to go on the 4th and 4. Had Zoltan not been hurt, the Patriots absolutely would have punted.
-Hopefully Ras-I gets healthy before Buffalo. Having Arrington play a major role in the defense really hurts.