From the Armchair: New England Patriots, Week 4
The first three quarters was a low scoring dogfight, and then the floodgates opened in the fourth quarter. At 30-13 with just over 6 minutes left it felt like the Pats had this game well in hand, but dumb turnovers nearly cost them in the end. They held on and we’ll take the W’s anyway we can get them.
The offense was sporadic for three quarters. For every great catch there would be a drop or a missed receiver. For every good run, one would be a loss. Overall, Tom Brady was sharp with the exception of the mishandled 4th down snap late in the game. LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley got the job done overall. Kenbrell Thompkins had some drops again, but also showed his potential with some highlight reel catches. Julian Edelman – silent in the first half was loud in the second and was a key in getting the offense on track. The line played well very well as Brady was not sacked. There’s more work to be done, but this unit is getting better in a hurry.
Yet again, the defense kept them in this game until the offense could get some rhythm going. Matt Ryan was sacked twice and hurried some as well. The ground game was held in check – which is a staple of this group. The star again was Aqib Talib not letting Julio Jones and then Roddy White dominate this game. All week sports media in the Boston area were saying that Tony Gonzalez was just a shell of what he once was – well maybe he’s no young gun anymore, but Captain Checkdown took what the Patriots gave them which were Gonzalez (or Jacquizz Rodgers) - and they repeatedly burned them. It was not until the 4th quarter that they decided to focus more attention on him. The big loss for this unit was losing big Vince Wilfork for what might be the season.
The good: Gostkowski was perfect again. Ryan Allen seems to be getting more consistent in the punting game. The bad: Zach Sudfeld gave the Falcons life by mishandling the first onside kick.
Overall, this was an entertaining game to watch. The team is hoping for the return of Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola which will make the offense more complete and explosive as well as take the pressure off the rookies. The loss of Wilfork will be huge, but I fully expect the next group of players to step up and help keep the ship moving forward.
The Road Ahead:
It’s off to Cincinnati, where their record is equally as puzzling as Atlanta’s.