RELAX AND ENJOY
For the first time this year you could sit back and enjoy the second half of a Pats game without worrying about the outcome.
No thoughts of the D giving up a critical late TD…No worry that the Pats offense would collapse and give the Bucs a bunch of chances to come back…No feeling that the rookies would do something really dumb and turn the ball over…Absolutely no sense that the Tampa QB would suddenly turn into Joe Montana
BEWARE OF ANGRY FALCONS
Enjoy it while you can, the Falcons are next and they have their talons ready to grab whoever is next on their schedule. Unfortunately, that is the Patriots. The game is in Atlanta and a team many thought could be Super Bowl contenders is on the ropes. They are 1-2 and the only team below them in the NFC South is Tampa! They just lost to the suddenly dangerous 3 & 0 Miami Dolphins. Another loss, particularly at home, and their season will start to slip away. This will be the toughest test for the Pats D…we’ll find out if they are for real.
GAME 3 THOUGHTS
IT STARTED UGLY…
* Tom Brady looked like he was afraid to throw the ball on the first three possessions. Tampa was blitzing and he was holding onto the ball longer than he usually does.
* The offensive line wasn’t helping and Brandon Bolden, who started his first game as a Pat, missed a key block early that lead to one of 3 Tampa sacks in the game.
* The Pats punted on their first three possessions.
* Tampa seemed to move the ball with ease. They missed a chip shot field goal and scored on another chip shot to lead 3-0 after the first quarter.
…THEN THE 2ND QUARTER BEGAN AND THINGS GOT BETTER
* The Pats scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter and the game was all but over. They ended up scoring 23 straight, since they shut out the Bucs for the final three quarters.
* The Bucs reverted to the same team they were in their 1st two games
* Brady suddenly found his rhythm and throws to Aaron Dobson, Julien Edelman & Kenbrell Thompkins started to hit more than they missed
* Thompkins scored two TDs, one in the end zone and one he caught just outside and made a nice move to get in
* The combination of Blount, Ridley and Bolden started to run with authority
* Aqib Talib had his 3rd interception of the year with 11 seconds left in the first half, which led to…
* …Stephen Gostkowski converting a 53 yard field goal (he was 3-3 on the day) with seconds left in the first half.
* The D kept Doug Martin in check. He did end up with 88 yards on 20 carries for a 4.4 average, but was never a factor in the game.
* Josh Freeman reverted to….Josh Freeman. Nuff Said.
THE FINAL SCORE WAS DECEPTIVE
The Pats actually had at least 3 more chances to score, but left points on the field.
1) Brady had both Thompkins and Edelman wide open behind the Tampa D for an easy TD. Instead, after the play action fake handoff to Ridley he threw an incomplete sideline pass to a well cover Zach Sudfeld.
2) Later Brady kept his eyes locked on Sudfeld in the Red Zone as he released the ball. Tampa SS Mark Baron read his eyes and picked it off in the end zone. After the game Brady said he “would see that play in his dreams.”
3) The Pats had the ball deep in Tampa territory late in the game. In the past this is when Bill Belichick poured it on, but not this time. Four running plays turned the ball back to Tampa as time was running out. You have to wonder if BB was taking it easy on his friend, Tampa (and former Rutgers) Coach Greg Schiano.
* It was reported before the game that Brady had texted former Pats Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd to see if they were interested in coming back. He denied having made contact with either in the post game press conference.
* Brady had a TD pass (actually two in this game) for the 51st straight game. He trails only Drew Brees, who had TD passes in 53 straight games and has a chance to catch him in just two weeks against Cincinnati.
* Brandon Bolton started his 1st game as a Pat and amassed 100 yards (51 yards rushing, 49 yards receiving)
* Thompkins scored his 1st (of many, hopefully) & 2nd NFL TDs
* Pats had 3 sacks and applied good pressure throughout the game
* The D held Josh Freeman under 50% passing. Never mind, forget that one, he’s under 50% for the year…no big deal!)
* Aqib Talib did a good job defending Vincent Jackson, who left the game injured late in the 3rd quarter (3 receptions for 34 yards and 1 drop).
* Red Zone efficiency was OK (2 for 5 for 40%). A little deceptive, as they made no attempt to score on their last possession. Still have a long way to go.
* The Bucs came in the most penalized team (accepted penalties) in the NFL, but the Pats had more penalties in this game then the Bucs did (Pats 6 for 50 yards, Bucs 4 for 48)
* Pats held Bucs to 35% on 3rd downs (5 for 14) and 0 for 4 on 4th down
* Bucs held Pats to 40% on 3rd (6 for 15). Pats were 1 for 1 when they actually went for it on 4th down (stats 1 for 2 because late in game they just turned the ball over without going for first down)
* The Pats are 3-0 for the first time since 2007 (the almost perfect season)
* The supposedly “weak” division actually has looked pretty good so far & the Pats may have their first real challenge with the Dolphins (3-0) looking like they have improved dramatically.
* I don’t know about you, but I think the NFL has really gone overboard on all the fines. It’s football guys. Let them tackle the guy with the ball without worrying about their pocketbook on every play.
A FACT YOU DIDN”T WANT TO KNOW
On the Dan Patrick show Monday morning former Patriot Rodney Harrison acknowledged that it is not uncommon for players to pee in their pants during the game. He said he had done it and his teammates would confirm. Since you have to be ready at all times, you can’t go back inside during the game so you have no choice. BET THAT’S UNCOMFORTABLE!
I’ll take a closer look at the Falcons game later. Meanwhile, enjoy the win in a game many thought the Pats were ripe for losing (Not me, I predicted 21-10 win in “PATS GO 3-0 blog before the game).
Really looking forward to next Sunday night’s match-up of Pats and Falcons.
The comments on this blog are my opinions and I welcome all comments pro & con. Debate is good. Differing opinions are good. Disagreement with me is…not good!
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