Friday, November 21, 2014
Week 11 Report
Patriots vs. Colts
There was another huge AFC showdown Sunday night for the Patriots and yet another huge AFC victory them. The Patriots continued their tear this season as they were able to earn their first ever victory in the Lucas Oil Dome. Tom Brady had his first down game in weeks, yet the Pats were able to pull off the dominant victory. A game like this just shows the various ways this team can win games. Against Denver, they spread it out and threw all over them and Sunday against Indy they went into power mode and controlled them at the point of attack. A team like this that can win games throwing or running and playing smash mouth D is very dangerous. This win gives the Patriots a huge inside track on home field advantage in January.
Sunday night the offensive line completely owned the Colts defensive line. All week leading up I was saying we should just spread them out and throw all day (as Big Ben did with his huge 500 yard 6 TD game). The Colts defense isn't strong in any area and I thought our best bet would be to put the gunslinger and GOAT Brady in charge. But, the Colts defensive line was so manhandled that we HAD to run the ball. How could you not give Gray 35+ carries when the holes were wide open every single time? Huge props to the meatheads up front for the blocking and huge props to the undrafted free agent Gray for an amazing performance. He didn't play around at all in the backfield. Every carry he hit the hole with authority and drove the pile for a decent gain. Gray could add something this team has been missing since the Dillon days, the ability to pick up the tough yards. If Gray can consistently do this, there is a whole new layer added to this offense.
As for Tommy B the GOAT, wow what a tough game for him. I don't know what it is about that dome, but it's in his head. His first half on Sunday was downright atrocious. He missed a couple easy throws, made some poor 3rd down decisions (throwing deep to Tim Wright in double coverage with Gronk wide open underneath), and had the two god-awful picks. The first one to Tyms was a good idea, but when Tom saw the pressure getting to him he should've taken the sack or thrown the ball away. Heaving it up into triple coverage when you aren't able to step into it isn't the answer. Then there was the 3rd and 1 audible into the pass, which may be the worst decision Tom has made all year. I don't really mind the idea of changing the play to a play action streak to Gronk, because the play was there. The safety completely bit on the fake and if Brady had time the play was a TD. That's the problem; Brady got no protection and again heaved one up. If he takes the sack, it forced the colts to burn a timeout and we flip field position. Instead, colts get 7 easy points and make it a game at half. But, thankfully Brady woke up at halftime and played a great second half helping down the Colts. Since its Brady, I'm not worried about his play going forward, but that shit definitely can't happen again if we want to beat good teams consistently.
The receivers had a somewhat quiet game with the run game in focus. Rob Gronkowski was an absolute beast blocking however. I legitimately believe he could be a starting tackle for us if needed. His fire out there Sunday was awesome. Seeing him block Sergio Brown into the TV cart was beautiful. He takes no shit, which is something this team needs. His touchdown was amazing as well. The moment he caught it I knew he was going for six. He easily could've stepped out and taken the first down, but he quickly turned and started rumbling past the Colts weak defense. The man is an absolute beast and certainly deserves to be in the MVP race.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: Belichick has Luck's number more than he does Peyton's and that's saying something. Luck is now 0-3 vs. the Patriots throwing at least a pick in all games. This secondary, again, completely owned this Colts receiving group (except for Fleener). Revis took Reggie Wayne completely out of the game to the point where we didn't hear both their names called at all in the second half. Browner again showed plays where his strengths were on display, but also showed play glaring weaknesses as well. Overall, he a huge contributor on D and is a real asset to the new physical image of this secondary, but he needs to limit the mistakes and blown coverages. The boldest move on Sunday was easily seeing BB put Kyle Arrington in man coverage on the dangerous TY Hilton. When I first saw this, I thought we were in trouble, but man Arrington did a great job. TY has held below 30 yards, which is an amazing stat considering the guy puts up almost 100 weekly. Arrington really struggled last season and made many question the value of his contract, but maybe the groin injury he had really did affect his play. This season it's a whole new player. He hasn't made any dumb mistakes in coverage like he used to and has been solid week in and out. This secondary is beyond versatile being six deep with players that would start on other rosters. It's a great luxury to have knowing you can line up with any team and lock them up.
I know that the most talked about thing is how great the run defense played Sunday. I think we really shouldn't get carried away on this though. The Colts have easily one of the worst OL's in football and maybe the back with the worst vision (Richardson). Yes, they did a great job taking away the run, but I'm not completely sold on them until they stop a runner like Eddie Lacy in two weeks. It's a great sign though to see the dominance. There are so many guys up front contributing. Vince is playing amazing, Alan Branch looked good in his real debut and young guys Jones and Easley have been solid. It also helps that the two LBs behind them, Collins and Hightower, are playing out of their minds. Collins is a tackling machine making a couple great third down tackles on Sunday and Hightower continues to thrive as he steps in for Mayo. These two are playing like seasoned vets even though both are on rookie deals.
Another big thing that needs to be pointed out is that Akeem Ayers has been a beast since coming here. He might not be getting sacks, but he certainly is applying pressure out there and doing a great job making sure we don't miss Chandler too much. I can't wait to see what the defense looks with Ayers and Chandler on the field at the same time. The Pats could develop a lethal pass rush with those two. Only Belichick could trade a 6th away for this guy and get him to be our best rusher.
The biggest takeaway from this game for me is that we shouldn't get too excited about beating the Colts. I don't think this Colts team is there just yet and I said I would be legitimately upset if we lost to them. They match up horribly with us and it showed Sunday. It was a great win, but now the Pats have three real tests coming up starting with a great defense in Detroit. That game will be a great measuring stick for how good our offense really is. But, again another huge win for this Pats team as they are tearing up the AFC contenders and proving all the doubters wrong. Hopefully the tear continues.