Monday, September 20, 2010
What happened Sunday? The Patriots made Mark Sanchez look like a legitimate NFL quarterback. And on the other side of the ball, the Pats' offense played worse when Darrelle Revis left the game.
I'd rip Darius Butler, but I think the Jets abused him enough on Sunday. It got so bad that he resorted to blatant pass interference, not even trying to disguise things.
I wish I could tell you that Darius Butler fought the good fight, and the Jets let him be. I wish I could tell you that. But the NFL is no fairytale world.
Did anybody else see Butler push himself off of Braylon Edwards on that 2 point conversion play?
The Pats' defense was thoroughly exposed on Sunday. In Week 1, the Bengals didn't seem to have a strategy or gameplan for playing the Pats' D. The Jets came prepared. More importantly, they adjusted. They started with long passes and inside running. That didn't work, so they took short passes, and ran both outside and inside. When the Patriots got 4 and 5 man pressure, Sanchez looked like a lost child. But when that pressure didn't come (or the Patriots tried blitzes with too many men), the Jets moved the ball down field with ease.
That being said, the biggest defensive star on the Pats' is a toss-up between Wilfork and Mayo. On offense, there's Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, two touted rookie TEs, and a solid O-line. The defense may have lost this game for the Pats, but it was the offense that didn't go out and win it.
And it starts with the QB. While Brady looked extremely comfortable in the pocket, and eluded pressure, his throws weren't as precise as he's capable of. He overthrew Moss with a deep ball that wound up as an interception. He underthrew Gronkowski on what would have been a key 1st down late in the 3rd.
But what was the gameplan? The Pats came out and ran the ball well with Taylor. They were hitting Moss with underneath stuff (although Moss let a few get past him), and using Welker on some intermediate routes. Then they lost patience with running the ball. The 2 minute drill before halftime saw Aaron Hernandez make an insanely great catch, and run. Then Moss had the catch of the day in the end zone.
Then in the 2nd half, Brady looked awful. The Pats' first drive of the 3rd quarter ended with an interception, which kind of acted like a punt. The Jets scored a touchdown to tie it. Then Brady had that underthrown pass to Gronk. Brady's pick in the 4th was kind of freakish, but why is that pass being attempted at all? 2nd and 3, why are you throwing a duck jumpball to Moss to get 5 yards? It's one thing if that's in the end zone, where the reward is worth the risk.
I'm not going to let Welker and Moss off the hook, either. Welker bobbled a 3rd down pass that would have given the Pats a 1st down. And Moss let a few catchable passes slip through his fingers. The Big Three on offense simply did not perform. The o-line performed. The d-line performed. The RBs and TEs performed. The secondary didn't perform, but they don't take up the same cap space as Brady-Moss-Welker, do they?
Aaron Hernandez caught 6 passes for 101 yards. Combined, Moss and Welker caught 8 passes for 79 yards. Moss and Welker were targeted 17 total times. Some of those incompletions/interceptions were Brady's fault. Some were their fault. Some were both Brady and their fault.
Oh, and Gostkowski needs to make field goals. This is the NFL, 37 yards should be a standard kick. The delay of game penalty that made it 37 yards was a good example of the Patriots' lack of focus, but it could have easily been overcome by the kicker who just signed an extension.
The schedule gets easier as the Pats host the Bills on Sunday. But they'd better get their offense in order before travelling to division leading Miami in October.