The Patriots took care of the Chargers yesterday. “Took care” is relative, the Patriots did what they had to do… There, that’s better.
The game started out choppy honestly. There wasn’t much of a flow, but a big moment that not a lot of people really talked about at the end happened early in the first quarter. The Chargers are driving into Patriots territory and it comes to 4th and 1. The ball is CLEARLY short of the first down marker. Rivers wants to hurry his offense to the line to gash this defense for a quick first down just as he’d been doing all drive. What does Bill do? He asks for a measurement. It’s like a faux-timeout and you could see how pissed Rivers was. After the measurement and the Patriots had enough time to adjust, the Chargers opted to miss a 51-yard field goal. That’s a big forgotten sequence early in this game that could’ve been bad considering this happened shortly after when LA got the ball again.
A less than 100% Melvin Gordon? No problem. Jesus that sucked. I sunk into my chair watching that one unfold. Kudos to Malcolm Butler for not giving up on the play but that was a tap right in the nuts. That run is the longest run a Belichick defense has given up since Ray Rice’s playoff touchdown run back in 2009. NOT FUN.
The Patriots woke up for the most part after that. Brady gets the ball. The Chargers pass rush would’ve made a mess for the Patriots if it weren’t for the running backs that made Tom’s life easy. James White, man… Sweet Feet indeed.
Cool stat for the game. 163 of Brady’s 333 total passing yards went to running backs yesterday and that, folks, is how you neutralize a dynamic pass rush.
That drive was capped off by the most wide-open Rob Gronkowski has ever been in his entire life.
You would THINK it’d be easier to remember that Gronk exists since Julian Edelman is out… Morons. That touchdown right there would be the end of touchdowns for the day for the Pats. That pissed everyone off. We’ll get to that after.
The next drive by the Patriots resulted in points because Travis Benjamin went ahead and tried to be DeSean Jackson back in his Eagles days for Halloween… HIT IT!
Seriously… what the hell, man? You trying to get EVERYONE on your team to hate you? Philip Rivers already hates his entire team, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say this didn’t help much. This just speaks volumes to how much Belichick cares about special teams and things like punt coverage. Seriously, I wouldn’t put it past Bill to be watching this highlight until 3AM with his pants off it was that well covered and rewarded. I’d be doing the same if I were at the helm.
From there? This game was UGLY. The defense did their job again, even without Dont’a Hightower. Making Rivers feel uncomfortable for most of the second half, there were a lot of positives from Matt Patricia’s crew. The late touchdown the Benjamin was a gaffe but for the most part, they stepped up, and that was a positive considering this past week of news on the defensive side of the ball.
The offense? Not so much… I know the conditions were a little rough yesterday but that’s no excuse. The offense needs to get in the end zone plain and simple. Missed opportunities in the red zone. Squandering incredible field position, like the Dion Lewis kick return. There just wasn’t that kind of precise execution we’re used to seeing on that side of the ball. Brady was still solid, don’t get me wrong. 32-47 333 yards and a TD is awesome, and Brady made some incredible throws with his pocket mobility, but they left some points on the field.
Gotskowski missed two 43-yard attempts and that wasn’t the best look either. I always hate when Steve misses and then the Internet literally calls for his head on a stick because that’s just dumb to me. Kickers miss. “They have ONE JOB THOUGH!” Exactly, they do… They do one thing, and if that ONE THING doesn’t go the way it should it can’t be masked with 40 other things. Kickers have a magnifying glass on them and Steve is one of the few I think handles it well. He’s been pretty solid all year especially coming off last year. I still trust him every time he walks out there, and you should too.
The game ended in CLASSIC Chargers fashion. Rivers has a chance to drive down and tie the game. The Patriots defense lets up all of the yards but it comes down to the final second of the game. What happened? You know what happened because Rivers does this EVERY SINGLE TIME. Boom, eyes closed interception to receivers who aren’t even looking for the ball yet. God, I love football.
Look, a win is a win. I wake up today happy the Patriots are 6-2 and not 5-3. The whole team knows they could have played better and that’s good that they made it known. Really, I’m happiest that they are heading into their BYE week.
This entire team is banged up. Chris Hogan left with his arm in a sling after taking a brutal hit across the middle, early reports are saying it’s an AC joint sprain. Marcus Cannon got roughed up early in the game as well. The Patriots just need this week to recover and then address the red zone offense. Bill will figure it out, but the health of this team is a concern no matter how many games they find ways to win.
PS – I will pay all the money in my bank account to never have Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts call a Patriots game ever again. Just let me know who to Venmo.
PPS – Shout out to DJ Bean