Patriots Analysis: Win needed, but need to get the point(s)
They got their first win. Now the New England Patriots are still waiting to get the point(s).
While the media and fans in New York are screaming about the ineptitude of Jets QB Zach Wilson in the wake of Sunday’s 15-10 Patriots victory, those contingents in New England are doing the same thing about their team’s lack of offensive production.
The problem is the Patriots simply don’t have any game-breakers, so don’t expect those high scores. It didn’t help the perception seeing the Dolphins and their arsenal put up 70 points, reminding Pats fans of previous seasons when they’d pile it on with 50 or more on bad teams (includng the Jets).
Those days are done, at least for now, with what we see on this team.
And that’s a problem.
Granted, the conditions at the Meadowlands on Sunday lent themselves to a slogfest, but the Patriots should have been able to run away with this game with the quarterback on the opposite side so awful. There was just a few inches and perhaps a quicker reaction from Jet receiver xxx on a Hail Mary between victory and a complete season-ending disaster for the Patriots.
And that’s because they had just a five-point lead – with two of those produced by the defense on a safety. The Jets defense is way overrated, and New England should have dominated the scoreboard rather than see New York keep hanging around.
The Patriots were only 8 of 19 on third down. They did, though rush for 157 yards, which helped, as it looked like Ezekiel Elliott will complement Rhamondre Stevenson quite well.
“I knew it was going to be a running game,” said Elliott, who returns to Dallas this Sunday to face his longtime former team. “So we were just ready to come out and run the ball as much as well as we needed to.”
The offensive line, which going in looked like a mismatch against the vaunted Jets defense, not only held its own but won the battle. It had Trent Brown back at left tackle and another little known vet, Vederian Lowe, played at right tackle.
“We’re starting to have a little continuity on the offensive line, so that was good,” Belichick said. “I think that definitely helped the running game.”
And Belichick on Monday reminded us that the Patriots weren’t playing from behind and didn’t have to have Jones throw for any career high attempts – just 29 times – so that aided in pass protection.
“One thing is not playing from behind and not having to throw the ball 50 times,” he said. “It starts there.”
But it took a busted coverage to allow for a big play touchdown to a relative unknown in Pharaoh Brown. How many of you had to look up the guy on line just to know who he was?
The Patriots have long since found those kinds of players who can be helpful, that’s been a Belichick specialty.
Look, the Patriots will always game plan according to opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, plus conditions. But one thing is obvious: they won’t be able to get into any track meets with anyone. They will need to run the ball, and perhaps that will open things up for the passing game, where it certainly seems like JuJu Smith-Schuster’s name will eventually be added to the scrap heap of veteran receivers brought in who have simply not lived up to expectations. We’ll see.
At the very least, defensively it seems like the top pick of corner Christian Gonzalez is a hit. He held Jet Garrett Wilson to two catches for 5 yards on Sunday, a week after keeping the explosive Tyreek Hill to three catches for 32 yards, and he had an interception.
Too bad he doesn’t play on offense.