Well Round 2 was a lot more fun than Round 1! This time around, equipped with Tom Brady and a healthy Rob Gronkowski, Bill Belichick rolled into Buffalo with his team ready to bash some skulls. Oh, and they surely did.
Our glorious leader, Tom Brady, led the charge with another MVP caliber performance. 315 yards with 4 Touchdowns with a 66% completion percentage is tremendous, but pretty much commonplace here in New England. Surprisingly, The Brady deep ball made me think I was back in 2007. Brady connected with Edelman on a longggggggg cross field touchdown pass that was sadly called back by everybody’s favorite lineman, Marcus Cannon’s, holding call. But the very next play was just another 53 yard bomb to Chris Hogan. All about those extra reps, baby. Despite missing a quarter of the season, Brady is arguably the front-runner for NFL MVP already. Still, 8 weeks into the season, the Patriots remain as the only NFL team without an interception. 12 TD’s in four weeks. Not too shabby Tommy Boy.
Another quiet afternoon for Blount with only 43 yards on 18 carries. However, most of the carries came late in the game with the Pats just trying to kill time against a heavy, run-committed defense so I wasn’t expecting any big gains there. The horse did find the end zone, though, putting him atop the NFL with 9 rushing touchdowns.
Finally, Tom Brady connected with not just 1, not 2, but 3 of his receivers for a touchdown! Despite Brady having thrown 8 touchdowns over the previous 3 weeks since his return, none of those 8 happened to be thrown to his seemingly identical wide receivers. All that changed on Sunday when Edelman, Hogan, and Amendola all were on the receiving end of a pass from the gift that keeps on giving, Tom Brady’s arm. Another quiet game in the box score for Martellus Bennett, but once again him simply being on the field next to our other tight end created all types of mismatches. At several instances, there were linebackers matched up amongst the trio of Edelman, Amendola, and Hogan. Wherever the mismatch may be, we all know Brady is going to find it and zone in all day long.
69 career touchdowns for this guy. Nice.
The most dominant offensive weapon in the game enjoyed another explosive performance, in which he caught a franchise record breaking touchdown, with 5 catches for 109 yards and a score.
This 2016 Patriots defense just continues to put my mind in a pretzel. Coming into the year, I expected a top 5 unit, maybe even top 3, but so far it’s been far from it. There seems to be a much more apparent lack in fluent communication between the sideline and the players on the field, made clear by back-to-back plays with too many men on the field. The inconsistency in the secondary and linebacker core(bye bye Jamie, you’ll be missed, go read my article about that. Thanks.) along with the complete disappearance of the pass rush is mind boggling. Yet, the scores each game tell a different story than what I see on the field. The Patriots have allowed over 20 points just three times in the first eight weeks(weeks 1,2, and 8), which should indicate a pretty dang good defensive unit, but it just isn’t really that good. Nobody has been able to stand out and claim the #2 corner spot opposite Malcolm Butler, the pass rush is nowhere to be found, and the front 7 has been pushed around a bit to open some juicy running lanes for opposing teams to average 196.1 yards on the ground a game! And I’m not too convinced trading Jamie Collins is going to help.
Anyways, now 7-1, still on top of the division, no competition in sight, heading to a bye week, Seattle coming to town in 2 weeks where Bob Kraft will be unveiling this year’s new 2016 edition of the official New England Patriots Nike Air Force 1 sneakers(you’re welcome for the plug, Bob. Would like my package in no less than a week.)
Wake me up for the AFC championship.
By Mark Panzini