turn the “wayback clock” to last week after the New England Patriots
went into Tennessee and handled the Titans with ease.
Do you remember how it felt after the Patriots won that game?
that feeling out the window because the New England Patriots were upset
and took a hit on the chin against the Arizona Cardinals who were
visiting Gillette this past Sunday.
In typical fashion we
expected a polished and effective product to be placed on the field for
the opening game in Foxboro and got nothing even close. The
Patriots looked tired, confused and even out of sync at times.
What are the reasons for this lack of performance?
We need to take a look at a few things that went on in this game …
of all, the injury to TE Aaron Hernandez early in the game changed the
entire game plan for the Patriots. One might ask why this
throw the game plan off when the typical “Patriot Way” is to plug a
replacement in with anyone to fill the void left when a man goes
down. The problem with this is that you don’t just “replace”
Hernandez is involved in almost every single
offensive scheme that the Patriots run. He is involved in the
running game, the passing game, the blocking game and all other areas
of the offense. Hernandez could remind some people of the
recently inducted Troy Brown (Patriots Hall of Fame) in his versatility
and ability to do whatever this team asks him to do.
That is why they had to change their game plan.
we need to take a look at this team and understand that they are
currently trying to become the team that most Patriot fans have been
asking for a number of years; sideline route runners and a power
running game. Isn’t this what a lot of people thought that
team was missing? That was not the “Patriot Way” for the past
years or so since the departure of Randy Moss. They are
transition this team and we, as fans, need to be patient with this
Third, when you have a quarterback that is looking at
his back and flinching every single time a defensive player comes
barreling in the backfield, this will cause him to be tentative and
begin forcing things that he shouldn’t. Tom Brady has an
offensive line that he might not necessarily trust with the loss of
Brian Waters and Matt Light in the offseason. If Brady is not
comfortable or able to move the pocket the way that he does so well,
then it could be a recipe for disaster.
Fourth, was the
admission from Wes Welker on local television stating that Bill
Belichick came out to the team this past week and let them know that
this week was full of poor and lackluster practices and that translates
onto the field and we saw that on Sunday.
OL Logan Mankins didn’t think highly of the team’s performance.
We didn’t play very good,” Mankins said after the game. “Not scoring a
touchdown until the fourth quarter, kicking field goals, penalties,
pressures, negative runs – the offense, we didn’t bring our best game
and it really showed.”
Fifth, last but not least was the
inability for Cardinals QB, Kevin Kolb to perform at a high
level. If the Patriots were playing an elite quarterback,
game would not have been as close as it ended. He missed open
receivers and made poor decisions at times during the game.
Patriots offense was given the opportunity to pull a victory our of
certain defeat when due to sound defensive play throughout the game.
defensive unit was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but
they were led by Chandler Jones and were able to keep the Arizona
offense at bay only gaining a total of 245 yards on the day.
Patriots team has been looking for a defense that would hold them close
in games for the offense to score on and they got that on the past two
Last week, this defense held Tennessee RB, Chris
Johnson, to 4 yards on the day. This week, they were able to
super star WR Larry Fitzgerald to one catch for 4 yards.
Patriots’ defense made the plays needed, while the offense was unable
to come through when it mattered most. At end of the day all
three phases came up short. The defense gave up the lead. The
offense had a touchdown called back for a holding call on TE Rob
Gronkowski and special teams K Stephen Gostkowski missed a field goal
to win the game.
The Patriots outperformed the Cardinals in all
areas, but could not close it out. New England outperformed
Arizona in total net yards, time of possession and turnovers.
LB Jerod Mayo summed the hit the loss took emotionally on the team.
always a disappointing time around here when you lose a game,” Mayo
told reporters. “Any time you lose like this it hurts but at the same
time it’s early in the season and these guys are still hungry and guys
will still keep their heads up and continue to work”
there will be some tough practices this week, as the coaches try to put
the loss behind them and prepare for the next game. Now onto
Talk About It
In the Forums
For more Patriots news follow us via Twitter: @PatriotsInsider
Shane Leketa is a long time Patriots fan who bleeds
and blue. Leketa runs the site MyPatsSpace on MySpace. Follow him on