From the Armchair: New England Patriots, Week 1
Patriots Defense. The sore spot for the Patriots the past few years has been the defense. That squad was decent yesterday. Two of the touchdowns allowed were off turnovers from the offense that left them in a bad position to begin with. They created pressure and three turnovers themselves and played a reasonably clean game. They limited CJ Spiller to under 3 yards a carry and kept EJ Manuel under control – though he looked better than I thought he might. Kyle Arrington had himself a solid game.
Danny Amendola & Julian Edelman. While I’m sure Brady would rather have his binky in Wes Welker, both Amendola and Edelman were solid, if not spectacular at times. These two were key all game for the offense.
Offensive line. They performed well when they had to most – in the 4th quarter. They allowed a solid effort in the ground game as Ridley was on his way to a big day before being benched and Vereen had what is likely his best day as a pro.
The rookie receivers & tight ends. As a group, this was an awful performance as evidenced by the frustration showed by Brady after plays and on the sidelines. It’s clear they miss Gronkowski, but they have to step up and get on the same page. Hopefully it was just a bad day at the office and they’ll catch up as the year moves on.
Danny Amendola. Wait, how can he be in with the bad? The criticism on him when he was signed was that they would not be able to keep him on the field. True to form he had a groin issue in the first half of the first game. While he showed toughness by being back out in the second half – and being a huge factor in the win – he’s still hurt. We’ll see how this affects him this week, which is short due to a Thursday night game against the Jets. He’s exciting to watch, and Brady clearly likes throwing to him – we’ll just have to hope the injury bug isn’t a problem already.
Stevan Ridley. Ridley was on his way to having himself a good game when he carelessly fumbled. The worst part was that once he put the ball on the carpet, he stopped playing while the Bills picked it up and ran it back for a score. Evidently, Belichick thought he was careless enough to let him sit and watch the rest of the game from the sidelines. Thankfully Vereen picked up the slack.
Kenbrell Thompkins. When you are targeted 14 times and only come away with 4 catches – that’s a bad day. Add to that, the clear frustration of not being where he was supposed to be on several plays lands you in the ugly column. This can be fixed with practice and time and he’s a rookie. Let’s hope he gets it and soon.
Tight Ends. Zach Sudfeld was supposed to be a sleeper. Well, tight end play which has been so important to the Patriot offense in the past few years was nonexistent this Sunday. Let’s hope Gonkowski is back sooner rather than later because they need him.
Overall the Patriots should have won the game and did. The Bills poor clock management, penalties, and costly mistakes is what gave the Patriots the win. Teams with Buffalo on their schedule should not treat that game as a gimme. The Bills Defense is much improved. The front four especially. EJ Manuel looks like a decent QB. Stevie Johnson and CJ Spiller have chronic cases of diarrhea of the mouth, but they are great pieces to this team. Fred Jackson when on the field gave the Patriots fits. This team will be a factor before long if they can clean their game up. The Pats have a short week to prepare for Rex Ryan, Geno Smith and the Jets – let’s hope there’s more good to the their game this week than ugly.