Friday, October 17, 2014

Postscript on Patriots Thursday Night Grinder

The New England Patriots escaped the trap and put up their third straight win, edging the New York Jets 27-25 on a blocked field goal kick on the final play.   The Jets used to be known as the NY Titans, worth mentioning as this game resembled last week's Tennessee Titans win - also on a blocked field goal at the end - over the Jaguars.  

Some takeaways on this Patriots win over the Jets -


Some are bitterly disappointed the Patriots could not rout the now 1-5 Jets the way San Diego did two weeks back, especially when Brady whipped the Patriots to the first touchdown with seemingly absurd ease.   The reality, though, is that the 49-19 Buttfumble win in 2012 has been the anomaly; the Patriots' last four home games against the Jets were wins by an average of just four points, and the point differential in the last three overall Patriot-Jet games - the season split last year plus this game -  is just plus-2 for the Patriots.  

Shoddy third down defense has been a curious commonality for Bill Belichick defenses throughout his tenure as Patriots coach - the Patriots' Superbowl successes came by overcoming shoddy third down defense.   Being beaten at the line on defense was a disturbing pattern during this game.  

Normally I'm not a fan of establishing the run because I've seen too much football where too many downs are wasted by teams trying to run when it's not working.   The Jets were able to run surprisingly well, and I thought the Patriots might have tried running more than they did.

We're now seeing more and more teams attack Darrelle Revis differently - Revis' game is about locking onto a number-one receiver, yet in the first month of the season no opponent had a #1 receiver - and the Jets clearly had none here.   In the Bengals game Revis struggled when AJ Green stopped running routes - reading the routes beforehand is Revis' greatest strength, and it seemed to me Jets pass-catchers had their best success in similar fashion.  

Injury to Dan Connolly and rookie Bryan Stork shuffled the Patriots' offensive line again.   Rookie Jordan Devey has come under fire for poor plays this season.   Overall, though, the line played well, though mistakes still need to be cleaned up.

Danny Amendola has long been under fire for injuries and for Brady not throwing to him - but the fact is Amendola is a genuinely tough player who can take over drives.   His spectacular bail-out-Brady of a touchdown showed this again.  
It also showed that Brady will play poorly but he'll still play clutch.

The Jets players rallied to embattled coach Rex Ryan and much controversy has been expressed this week attacking Jets GM John Idzik and defending Ryan.   The problem, though, remains that Ryan is not a competent coach, and disciplinary issues on-field and poor overall coaching could be spotted here again.   The fact Ryan has failed to develop a good quarterback - while Bill Belichick helped unlock Brady's innate superstar talent, developed Matt Cassel into a capable quarterback, and may well have his star of the future in Jimmy Garoppolo - has been overlooked in the defenses offered of him.

Aaron Dobson was a healthy scratch again and some scuttlebutt I'm hearing is that Belichick is rifling shots across his bow via these benchings and Dobson has refused to notice - suggesting to me he may have an entitlement approach to his job in contrast to the hunger shown by Brian Tyms.  

After several weeks of one-sided football Thursday Night Football has now seen two suspenseful games in a row, an indication that time and patience will produce the kind of quality football people want out of these games.

The end result thus is New England's third win in a row as the rest of Week Seven awaits kickoff.

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