Pats Impressive, But Hold The Phone

Aaron Hernandez

A win is a win, but beating the Tennessee Titans soundly is no reason to start planning your postseason parties just yet writes Patriots Insider contributor Shane Leketa.

This past Sunday was full of anticipation and excitement as the New England Patriots kicked off the season against the Tennessee Titans at LP field in Nashville, TN.

There were a lot of questions about this young team and how they would bounce back from losing to the New York Giants in the Superbowl 21-17 the past February.

As most know by now, the Patriots went onto the field with a purpose on Sunday and manhandled a lack luster Tennessee Titans team. As the game progressed, we watched something that we had not seen at all last year in a balanced attack sprinkling running, screens and passing routes into the game plan.

Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and hit pay dirt twice with throws to both of his young tight ends in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski also hitting 6 different receivers in the winning effort.

The biggest difference with this game was the existence of a running game for the Patriots, something that had been missing the past couple of years. Stevan Ridley ran the ball very well amassing 125 yards on 21 carries even punching it into the end zone one time.

This was no fluke for the upstart young running back. The offensive line, that had many questions throughout preseason and going into the season, came together and had a good showing on Sunday.

As Tom Brady stated when asked about the offensive line the only hit that got to him was the one that broke his nose. He said they really held it together with Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Donald Thomas and Logan Mankins.

"I am extremely comfortable and confident in those guys and they work their butt off. I just have to stand there and make those throws because that's what this team really counts on me for."

The last time that these teams connected was a 59-0 rout back in 2009 so, one might have thought that the Titans would have come out fighting but the New England Patriots were just too much for them on Sunday.

This Tennessee Titan team is not a very good one going through transition bringing in their young quarterback in Jake Locker. They also have a running back in Chris Johnson on the decline of his career and to top it off, WR Kenny Britt was suspended on Sunday.

Last year, although the Titans came in at 9-7 and just missed the cut from the playoffs, they did nothing to address the interior line questions that they had in the offseason and they also did nothing to help solidify a pass rush.

This is why we should not write the Patriots ticket to New Orleans quite yet folks.

With the Patriots, there were questions this year with the secondary and the "bend but don't break" mentality from last year. With the addition of Tavon Wilson and the healthy returns of Ras-I Dowling and Patrick Chung you would have thought that they made the necessary adjustments.

I did not see a major improvement on Sunday from the secondary with Locker throwing for 229 yards also missing some wide open throws to his receivers. They are going to be hard pressed to have the same result when they go against the more elite quarterbacks in the league.

The stout defense line and the addition of Chandler Jones and Donte Hightower held the afore mentioned Johnson to 4 yards rushing which was a sure sign of things to come.

Don't get me wrong, there was a lot to be excited about with the Patriots on Sunday. Just being a realist here and trying to temper that excitement and remember that they were playing the Tennessee Titans.

Take the words of TE Aaron Hernandez after the game, "I thought we started better than the past two years that I've been here. Good start, a lot to learn from and we have to get better every week. I felt like we did a great job, and like I said we have to keep improving — run game, pass game and get more dangerous every week."

Well said Mr. Hernandez.


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Shane Leketa is a long time Patriots fan who bleeds red, white and blue. Leketa runs the site MyPatsSpace on MySpace. Follow him on Twitter: @MyPatsSpace

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