Patriots vs Chargers: The Aftermath

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.

FIRST HALF

-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

SECOND HALF
-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.

Tags: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Game Recap, Zoltan Mesko

32 Responses to “Patriots vs Chargers: The Aftermath”

  1. Billy C. says:

    Dan was correct with the McCourty comment regarding him taking the best penalty of the day. It was too bad the announcers/producers covering the game couldn’t recognize the smartness of the play. Instead, they continued to reference the size of “Big Vince” and completely missed an opportunity.

  2. TD says:

    BB’s def game plan was to take away Gates and the deep sideline, which he did successfully. That forced SD to take the middle stuff and passes to RB’s and it made them use a lot of clock to do it. They do lack a push inside though.

    The D came up big with the 4th and goal, 2 INT’s and strip sack. SD is a top NFL offense and to keep them to 21 is a good day. There are no shut down defenses in the league, even the top D’s struggle from game to game; Balt gets beat, Pitt gets hammered, etc.

  3. Liam says:

    A little harsh on McCourty I think. He was in position on most of those passes to V. Jax, but was beaten by amazing throws and a giant freak of a reciever. Whilst he hasn’t started as hot as last year, I think he’ll be fine. There aren’t many corners in the league that could make plays on those passes – Asomugha, Revis, Woodson maybe.

  4. brett says:

    the reason the pats only rushed 4 guys is rivers will pick you apart if you send the house

  5. Dan says:

    The offense is amazing…no doubt about that…they are going to score close to 30-plus every game. Special teams is looking strong…Slater, and White have to be two of the best in the league, and Mesko hopefully will be ok.
    So…………The defense: I agree with the fact that they need to put more pressure, and I believe they will. Anderson made a big play towards the end of the game, and Carter had a great sack and the worst all of the season on his personal foul. But, Rivers had too much time today. Again, this is the league these days…hard to stop all these throwing teams.

    The best part of today’s game was (in week 2!) the defense made big plays…many of them. They caused fumbles, picked the ball off, had a great goal-line stand. So, they gave up yards and points, but made some big plays.

    It will come together…the personnel is there.

    • qwerty says:

      patriots seem to be doing 4 man rushes the entire game

      • Dan says:

        Yes, I wish they would send more…maybe they will, but they decided on using a guy like Chung to take Gates out of the game, rather than blitz. He did his job, but the guys rushing didn’t put enough pressure on.
        I’m going out on a limb and saying the Pats will mix it up more, and we’ll see more of Anderson also. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

  6. John Major says:

    The Patriots offense looks great but I’m not happy with their defense. They definitely are not getting the kind of pass rush I thought . Rivers had too much time to throw the ball. Arrington played like Darius Butler today.

    • JMC says:

      Many of the SD completions were dink and dunks to the running backs- taking what the Patriots gave them- the Pats defense giving them no-so-much downfield. The defense also had an important goal line stand and two impotent interceptions- They weren’t Super Bowl great- but they weren’t all bad either, playing against a very prolific SD offense-

      • JMC says:

        uhhh– important interceptions- that is……

      • Ryan says:

        Its going to be one of those years much last the past 4-5. Where if we dont get sacks than the “defense” didn’t play well. At some point everyone is going to have to figure out that Clay Matthews is one of a kind, and he plays for a different team. Not only that I would consider SD’s OL one of the best in the league, if not top 1 or 2. Not only that Rivers holds on to the balls for split seconds at a time. The Defense in my opinion played very well, espicially against the best rated Offensive unit last year, who played much of the season with out Gates/VJax.

  7. qwerty says:

    any stats on mccourty … how many attempts vs completions and yards

    • Dan says:

      I’m not saying McCourty was great, but he’s had to freaks to cover the past two weeks…to open the season; a season that is clearly about throwing the ball, league-wide. He’s a serious player, and I’m not worried about him one bit. I actually think he’s played well.

      That play he made on the goal line to blow up the blocker was great, and the other great play he made was running to stop Wilfork from being stripped of the ball. He was not only trying to make a block from behind, he saw that Wilfork was possibly going to get that ball punched out from someone he didn’t see and wiped the dude out, taking the best penalty of the day.

      He’s a very good player who could be considered elite, and soon. Nobody can cover those two giant, talented, receivers all day and not give up big yards

      • Ratzalot says:

        A recent article on NFL.com listed McCourty as a “blue-chip” player, so he is already being considered elite (top 5). I’m seeing a large majority of cornerbacks struggling right now. The lockout appears to have hurt that position the most. The phrase “mid-season form” will most apply to cornerbacks this year, as it will take that long to see them playing as expected.

        • Dan says:

          I’m not sure where the guy “ranks”. The kid is an amazing football player…not just a corner, and he had a great rookie season; in fact, he saved the season for the Pats, with Bodden going down and Butler sucking…he was there only corner.
          I really think the league is simply evolved into a pass-crazy game, and he had to start the season against two of the biggest and best receivers the game has ever seen. He was there on many of those plays…the QB tossed it up and the 6’5″ receivers just went up and made AMAZING catch, after catch.
          He didn’t play corner great, but he played well and I think he’ll continue to make plays and build on last year.
          He’s not elite yet, but he’s heading there…I will be shocked if he takes a step back. He’ll be a stud for years…the last player on this team, other than Brady, I’m worried about.

      • qwerty says:

        I think McCourty will get better as season wears on and will do much better against such receivers.

        >he saw that Wilfork was possibly going to get that ball punched out from someone he didn’t see and wiped the dude out, taking the best penalty of the day.

        yeah, i was wondering about that … that makes sense

        • Dan says:

          Yes, it does make sense because it’s exactly what he did. It’s not rocket science…usually when a big dude (someone not used to handling the football) carries the ball the other team goes the extra mile to take that ball back and attack it. The offensive player was making effort to catch him but he was also making a big motion to punch at the ball.
          McCourty, and most starting defensive players, know about going for the football…they’re coached it everyday; so, he made the effort to be there for a block, but decided to slap down the guys arm and take him out.
          One of the best plays I’ve seen in years…shows amazing smarts.

          Go back and watch the play…watch what McCourty does with his hands and tell me that wasn’t intentional.

  8. qwerty says:

    >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.

    the defense bailed the patriots out of that decision

    you saying that patriots don’t have other players who could punt the ball. i think i could have kicked a punt from near mid field and i’m a crappy kick.

    • JMC says:

      Welker did some punting while at Miami- They have also quick-kicked with Brady in the past-

    • Dan says:

      I think that was not the case, something that went into Belichick’s decision…not having his starting punter healthy. I think someone could have punted, like you said; but, the coach didn’t have confidence in his defense, AGAIN!
      I feel he simply weighs the odds that they will get the first down using is amazing offense and best player, Brady, against whether or not his defense can stop the Charger’s offense from driving 50 yards or 80 yards, or whatever the distance may have been. He feels it’s best to play the odds on them getting the 4 yards, against his defense making plays.
      It’s clear the way he feels these past few years, and the stats do show this…his decisions tell the story, not anything he says in press conferences etc…

      • qwerty says:

        if it was 4th and 1/2 or maybe 4th and 1 – it may have made sense but
        4th and 4 … Yikes

        and not having confidence in the defense … even more Yikes

  9. John says:

    i hated what they did with the d-line today

  10. TD says:

    They need to get more pass rush out of this new defense. Strange how they struggle to limit the opponents run game also.

    If Brady struggles, this team will be losing unless the defense can get better.

    • andy says:

      if rodgers,rivers,brees,vick and any of the other quarterbacks struggle it will be a long season for thier teams too!that was stupid

    • D. T. says:

      I think the worry expressed about Brady struggling is legitimate. So far, we haven’t seen the defense perform when the opponent is winning…

      Take a look at the Jets-Patriots playoff game. Brady is frustrated like I’d never seen him. The offense is going 3-and-out. The D is victimized on long drives and Holmes and Edwards win out, McCourty and Arrington looking defeated.

      Their youth was exposed. The secondary on paper is better this year (McCourty is more experienced, Dowling replaces Arrington, Bodden is back)

      But there are still clear problems. The Safety position looks fine – BUT THERE’S NO INJURY DEPTH. Chung goes down, and the whole D looks less menacing. The D-Line is a very very good line, but they need to gel and work on more complicated schemes and blitzes. I think by mid-season the D will be a top-tier one. But the D didn’t look any different than last year in this game.

      • TD says:

        I think the whole D is trying to figure out their roles-even Mayo has had his struggles, but that stop on 4th and goal was vintage. It will take some time/games for this D to gel and get better. Last year they never did get better which I think is why BB redesigned the whole scheme.

        • D. T. says:

          I’d respectfully disagree about getting better. They DID get better. They went from giving up 20+ to the Colts and Steelers to giving up half that to the Lions, then 3 to the Jets, then pretty much shut out the Bears, Bills, and Dolphins. But when it came to playoff time, they regressed in the face of the superior talent of the Jets. The Jets just were too good at that point. The D-line was dinged up (we had a bunch of scrubs as starters), the LB corps was missing Spikes and was starting Guyton, Ninkovich, Cunningham. The CBs were Arrington and McCourty against Holmes and Edwards with Butler against Cotchery. The Safeties didn’t have a good game (Chung with the punt)

          Let’s compare:

          Wilfork/Warren/Pryor/Wright/Love/Cohen/Weston/Favorite
          vs.
          Wilfork/Hayneworth/Ellis/Carter/Cunningham/Pryor/Wright/Love/Anderson/Ninkovich

          Mayo/Guyton/Cunningham/Ninkovich
          vs.
          Mayo/Spikes/Fletcher/Guyton/Edds

          McCourty/Arrington/Butler/Wilhite
          vs.
          McCourty/Bodden/Dowling/Arrington/Molden

          Meriweather/Chung/Page/Brown/Barrett
          vs.
          Brown/Barrett/Chung/Ihedigbo

          When you compare the talent of the Jets 2010 squad to the scrubs we were forced to play against them, it’s not suprising we lost.

          But this year…I think the Patriots can sweep them if they stay healthy.

  11. TomDickHarry says:

    Also, the 4th and 4 was a terrible decision, anyone can punt the ball 30 yds, I’m sure Gostkowski can and even even a 20 yd punt is better than giving it to SD at the 50. The Colts call I understood, this one was just silly.

  12. TomDickHarry says:

    Forgot about Arrington getting his bell rung. That’s a bad technique when a guy is already going out of bounds, I understand it in the open field but that was a big risk for Kyle to take and I hope he’s alright.

    The Dowling injury is a big concern, looked like a sprain knee, out at least 1 week if so, probably 2 or 3.



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