From the Armchair: New England Patriots, Week 9
Offense: The Patriots offense finally looked like it turned the corner this week. Another week back and Rob Gronkowski finally looks like the Gronk we all know and love. His presence and effectiveness on the field opened other options and made them more efficient. They had three receivers over the century mark in receiving yards. Rookie Aaron Dobson had his best game as a pro and his continued effectiveness should help ease the pressure on the other receivers and the running attack. Stevan Ridley showed he is the best pure runner on this team though the Steelers have not been good at stopping the run. Tom Brady was sharp when he wasn’t running for his life.
Defense: To an extent this looked like “bend, but don’t break” at its finest. Not sure anyone feels better about this unit when the Raiders totally shut down the Steelers and they come here an put up 31 points on you and Ben Roethlisberger hangs 400 yards on you. It’s clear that this unit misses Mayo and Talib, but there were some performances that were very good still. Cornerbacks Alfonso Dennard and Logan Ryan looked good at times and not so good at others. The biggest problem for the defense is not getting off the field on third down. The plays beating them are on both the ground and through the air.
Up next: The Patriots have a much needed bye for week #10 before facing Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Hopefully the week of rest helps get some of these players such as Talib, Steve Gregory, Rob Ninkovich, and finally Shane Vereen back into the lineup.