By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff
Last year, the Patriots had plenty of problems. Perhaps the biggest was their performance in the second half of games while out on the road. Many changes were made this offseason to try and address that issue, with stronger leadership, more offensive weapons, a faster defense, and Bill Belichick getting more involved in the defense.
Yesterday showed there is still a long ways to go before this problem can be deemed fixed.
The Patriots looked OK in the first half. The defense was fairly stout, they got some pressure on Mark Sanchez, and were decent against the run. On offense, they moved the ball pretty much with ease, and were able to protect Tom Brady.
As the first half wound down, the offense electrified Patriots fans with a pair of quick strike passes. First Brady hit Aaron Hernandez for a long gain, with the rookie tight end dodging defenders and getting huge yardage after the catch. Then Brady went straight down the middle to the end zone, where Randy Moss caught the ball with one hand (never putting a second hand on the ball) two steps ahead of Darrelle Revis, who, at the very instant that the ball landed in Moss’ hand, grabbed his hamstring and started limping. He was seen getting treatment on the sidelines, and then left for the Jets locker room, not to be seen again.
Patriots fans (at least the ones I was with) were going nuts at this point. Moss had finally gotten off “Revis island” and Revis, while Revis is legitimately injured, the timing of the injury certainly was bad, as it looked like he was building his ready-made excuse for finally getting beaten by Moss for a long TD.
Little did we know that this would be the high point of the afternoon for the Patriots. This gave them a 14-7 lead, but the Jets marched right back and kicked a last second field goal to close to 14-10 going into the half.
The second half was a nightmare. The Jets completely dominated in all aspects of the game, picking off Tom Brady, getting the running game going behind a suddenly resurgent LaDainian Tomlinson and finding Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller in the passing game. The Patriots defense stopped getting pressure on Sanchez, and were penalized with personal fouls and pass interference calls that kept Jets drives moving.
All in all, this was a very discouraging afternoon for followers of the team, yet we certainly need to keep in mind that this is week two, there are a lot of young and inexperienced parts on this team that are going to take their lumps in the early going. The problem yesterday was that it wasn’t the rookies that let them down. Cunningham, McCourty, Hernandez and company actually looked pretty good for the most part. It was Tom Brady and the offense that had the most problems. You gotta think that is going to get better.
I know it’s heresy in these parts, but Tom Brady is part of the problem. Whatever happened to “Tom Brady’s favorite receiver is the open receiver”? Hasn’t he learned by now that throwing it up to a covered Randy Moss hoping for a miracle catch fails a lot more often than it succeeds? Ten throws to Moss for 2 catches is not the recipe for victory.
I noticed that too last week – a couple of times Tate was open and Brady threw into coverage. It’s frustrating and makes me think Brady was better when he didn’t have the name WR’s.
Man, it sure is tough to have a beautiful day and to stay inside for a generous second half dose of dog-doo.
I really miss the days when I always felt that Belicheck would figure out a way to adjust and outcoach the other guy. As much as it pains me to say it, Ryan did a great job yesterday and completely outcoached Belicheck. it was clear after the first quarter that the Jets were going to throw a lot more and the pats just did not adjust at all.
It was really a terrible performance all around
What a game for the 2010 Patriots to start playing like the 2009 Patriots…
I like the youth, speed and athleticism on the defense.
Yes, they are going to get torched from time to time, but the talent level finally does seem to be rising again (after 3 or 4 years of steady decline).
Offensively, I hate to say it, but the Moss Era needs to end after this season. He’s to Brady what free smack is to a heroin addict. During their glory days, they would occasionally take shots downfield and they had receivers who were both good possession receivers and who could also run deep (Branch being the classic example). Now it seems as though they feel they have to throw it deep to Moss 3 or 4 times every game, at the expense of taking shorter yardage and holding onto the ball for a few more minutes.
Part of the problem, I think, with their defense in the second half of games is that the offense simply goes 3 and out too often once they start chucking it deep for Moss instead of trying to grind out drives.
I never thought I’d be longing for the days of Reche Caldwell and Jabbar Gaffney, but at least back then the Pats tried to run the ball more often and Brady was still in his classic “spread the wealth” mode as a QB.
I hope they learn their lesson–finally–after this latest road disaster and go back to trying to be balanced on offense.
I’m not quite sure Brady is locking in on Moss. I mean, wouldn’t he lock in on Welker more, since the throws to Welker are safer? Maybe we should be asking if Brandon Tate is any good, seeing as he hasn’t caught a pass (that I can see) yet this season. Or maybe we should be worried that Ben “3 yards a carry” Green-Ellis is the featured back now.
As for myself, I”m more worried that Brandon Meriweather has been benched for self admitted “freelancing”. Five years in the league and he doesn’t get it.