Bill Belichick (Leon Halip/Getty Images)
The offensive numbers for Tom Brady and the New England offense were historical, both for Brady, the franchise and even the league. Yet despite rolling for over 600 yards of offense, Patriots coach Bill Belichick found some holes in New England's armor.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP)
The most productive offensive game in the New England Patriots' 52-year
history drew the same old analysis from coach Bill Belichick.
Some good, some bad.
Belichick found some room for improvement after Tom Brady threw for a
career-best 517 yards and the offense piled up a franchise-record 622
in Monday night's 38-24 season-opening win over the Miami Dolphins.
''We had the ball on the 1-yard line ready to score a touchdown and we
end up getting knocked out of field goal range and couldn't get a field
goal before the half,'' Belichick said Tuesday.
He didn't like the ending of the game either.
''We really weren't able to close out the game at the end of the game
with a couple of first downs that we could have made,'' he said. ''The
good thing was, offensively, whenever Miami scored or started to change
the momentum of the game a little bit, our offense was able to come
back and drive the ball and score points and change that momentum
around, so that was great.''
With Brady operating out of the no-huddle for much of the game, the
Dolphins couldn't always make the substitutions they wanted or set up
their defense the way they would have liked.
''It's great that we could take advantage of it, but those
opportunities won't always be there,'' Belichick said. ''I'm sure as
teams get more experienced with their communication and get further
into the season, you'll see less and less of that.
''We're just trying to keep ironing out all the little details and
that's really across the board. It's offense, defense, special teams.
There are always things on every play, even good plays, that a lot of
times aren't done quite properly and had the (opposing) defense or the
offense been in (a) different play or done things a little bit
differently, then we would have had a problem.''
The Dolphins, though, didn't cause enough problems for the Patriots.
Brady threw four touchdown passes. Two went to Wes Welker, including a
99-yarder in which he ran most of the way. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski
and Aaron Hernandez scored the other two.
But Brady knows a hurry-up offense can cause problems for the team
''It's a fine line between putting pressure on a defense and playing
out of control,'' he said. ''I thought at times we did both and you
never really want to play out of control on offense. It was a good pace
at times, but other times they adjusted to it. We've also got to find
ways to execute better.''
Perhaps the costliest play on offense for the Patriots came when center
Dan Koppen hurt his left ankle when Brady sneaked ahead for a first
down late in the first half. He was driven off the field on a cart and
Dan Connolly replaced him for the rest of the game.
Koppen, who returned to the Patriots sideline in the second half on
crutches, is expected to miss a substantial amount of time.
''Dan's a guy that obviously has played a lot of football for us at a
very important position. So, that's not something that's an easy thing
to adjust to,'' offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien said. ''I'm very
confident in Dan (Connolly) and what he's going to be able to do for
Belichick gave no update on Koppen's injury. But the team is checking
available offensive linemen not on the active roster.
''We evaluate our roster and all our options every week, especially
early in the season when there are more options available,'' Belichick
said. ''With each succeeding week, options start to diminish. The
players that are available, that number decreases, and so forth. Every
week, we're looking at the players on our practice squad, we're looking
at other players.''
The Patriots play their home opener Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, who beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-17 on Sunday after trailing
17-7 at halftime. Perhaps more important, though? San Diego's defense
seems stronger than Miami's.
''They're an aggressive defense,'' O'Brien said. ''They've got a lot of
good players at every position.''
And less than 24 hours after the Patriots' record-setting performance,
he was eager to leave it behind.
''I just am thinking about San Diego and, really, whatever happened
(Monday) night, I'm telling you, it really doesn't matter as it relates
to San Diego,'' O'Brien said. ''Every week in this league is a
different week and, hopefully, this will be the last time that I'm
talking about Miami until the next time we play Miami.''
And with a short week of practice between the Monday night and Sunday
games, Belichick already is working on fixing the problems he
''It was our first regular-season game and ... it was nice to come out
of it with a win, but we know (each) week it's going to get tougher,
especially with the Chargers this week,'' Belichick said. ''They're a
real good football team.''
''There are a lot of things to improve on, a lot of little things,'' he
said. ''It's a detail-oriented game and, again, this is the week to
really try to improve it because this is a heck of a defense that we're
going against on Sunday against San Diego.''
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