NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed
It was no Christmas Carol, but if Charles Dickens wrote this game, it would be called “A Tale of Two Halves.”
At this point, we’re used to the Patriots starting off slow, but we’re not exactly used to the Patriots starting out slow for an entire half. That first half was by far the worst we’ve seen the Patriots offense play. I put very little blame on the Patriots defense. They didn’t have time to get off the field with all the three and outs Brady and co. were supplying.
Here’s some observations I made during the game:
-Dane Fletcher had a fantastic game. I was looking for someone to step up for the Patriots and he came up big with a few pressures on blitzes up the middle.
-The Patriots pass rush in general was impressive with five sacks and eight QB this. Jerod Mayo had the best game with two sacks and two QB hits. Shaun Ellis had a very surprising performance with a sack and two QB hits.
-As everyone expected (not) Mark Anderson barely played in Carter’s absence. He did have two QB hits though.
-It’s really disappointing that Patrick Chung and Brandon Spikes didn’t play again, but if it means they’ll stay healthy through the playoffs, it might be wise.
-The Patriots safeties are horrendous. Sergio Brown cannot get snaps on defense come playoff time. Chung will really help in both pass coverage and against the run. Reggie Bush probably wouldn’t have had as nice of a game if Chung was in.
-Turnovers and penalties. I say it every week, but it’s hugely important. We saw some bad penalties from the Patriots in the first half, but they played a really nice second half to make up for it.
-Lets hope Logan Mankins’ injury isn’t serious, he came out in the first quarter and didn’t come back. Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon looked good though. Those could be the Patriots tackles of the future if Sebastian Vollmer’s back injury is chronic.
-The Brady QB sneak might be the Patriots best offensive play.
-If the Patriots played their prevent defense for an entire game, the opposing team might put up 150 points. It’s really bad.
-Interesting decision to have the line: Mankins-Thomas-Connolly-Waters-Solder to open the game. I was surprised Thomas was in over Wendell.
-Wes Welker stepped up as the big playmaker today. Twelve receptions and 138 yards, that’s pretty good.
-Deion Branch continues to be a red zone beast.
-Ridley’s stat line didn’t look incredible, but he looks like he’s taken over for the Lawfirm as the bellcow.
As always, I’ll have more tomorrow in my six keys to victory.