I will say one thing about the 2017 New England Patriots, they know how to keep a game interesting. Jesus, every game this season has played out like it’s an episode of Friday Night Lights. There has been dramatic highs, like coming back against the Texans, beating the Bucs, and yesterday. To the lows of losing getting blown out on the banner dropping home opener and the last second field goal against Carolina. This team sure knows how to make things interesting. I guess thats what happens when you let every Quarterback you play, no matter if it is a former MVP in Cam Newton, or journeyman Josh McCown throw for over 300 yards.
Obviously not having Stephon Gilmore and starting core special teamer Johnson Bademosi doesn’t help things (even though I though Bademosi played decent for being thrown in there). And I love how we have no idea how a guy who didn’t have a concussion after his game last Thursday and practiced all week suddenly has a concussion 2 days before game day. Not a conspiracy, but something doesn’t add up… Anyways, the secondary did not look great. Once again, there we guys wide open down field. There were breakdowns in coverage and in the defense in general. Usually when you have guys waving their arms in the air looking to the left and right and then wasting a time out it isn’t a great sign. Once again, thank you Michael Hurley for the great visual of what some might call a breakdown in coverage…
The one person in the secondary that I did believe stood out and had a good game was Malcolm Butler. He maned up Robby Anderson and did a pretty good job on him (2/8 54 yds, TD, INT, 2 PBU, Fumble) He had a nice interception right before halftime that then set up to an eventual Rob Gronkowski touchdown.
Gronk is back. I might have said that before, but coming back after plenty of time from a surprise missed game last Thursday, Gronk looked like Gronk. And you can just tell how much better this offense is with Gronk on the field making the kind of plays only he can make. Especially without Julian Edelman this season, having Rob out there makes a night and day difference. Gronk has been Brady’s go to on big 3rd downs all season. His pass catching and his blocking skills have been so important to this offense. When the guy is right, he is uncoverable. And as good as Jamal Adams is and will be, there is just no such thing as a Gronk stopper, which was evident in his 2nd touchdown of the day.
Talking about guys who are back, welcome back Dion Lewis! I don’t know how many times I have said it this season (yes I do, it is a lot) but Dion Lewis is the best running back on this team. I do not care that they paid Super Bowl hero James White. I do not care that they paid and brought in Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee. Dion Lewis is special. He can make something out of nothing. He ALWAYS makes the 1st guy miss. There are not many players out there who can pull off plays like this.
And this is a routine play for Dion. After a lost fumble by Gillislee, Dion started getting more and more touches. If that is what it takes to get that man out of the field, then I am happy they lost that fumble. Feed the most talented player and that is Dion Lewis.
While we are talking about talented players, it was obvious that the most talented player on the Jets offense yesterday was Austin Seferian-Jenkins. I loved this guy coming out of Washington and wanted the Patriots to draft him. When he got cut after his DUI and was looking for a new team, I definitely wanted Bill to bring him in. However, while I was right about them bringing in a player with a DUI before, I wasn’t so lucky this time. The Patriots did not bring in the 2014 second round pick and he ended up with the Jets. Since then he has been to rehab and gone sober. He has turned his life around and has had a pretty good season so far. That was no different yesterday when he tore the Patriots up for 8 receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown.
And now I would like to address the elephant in the room. Without a doubt in my mind, Austin Seferian-Jenkins fumbled that ball out of the end zone.
It is as clear as day. Malcolm Butler was smart enough to go after the ball before ASJ hit the pylon. Bill Belichick is his coach, of course he knows the rule. And he knew right away when it happened that that ball as out and that it wasn’t a touchdown.
Seferian-Jenkins fumbled the ball and it went out the end zone. Easy peasy. That is the letter of the law. Is it a dumb rule? Of course it is. I have always hated the rule if you fumble it out of the end zone it is a touchback and ipso facto a turnover. It is a very stupid rule, but it is a rule. And our coaches are smart enough to teach our players these rules. So if you wanna get upset, I am going to tell you to learn the rule book. Simple as that. Once again, Malcolm Butler makes the smart play at the goal line and makes a game altering play.
Also, lets not kid ourselves here, even if he didn’t fumble that ball (which he did), the Patriots were not going to lose that game. Does anyone in their sane mind think that if it was a tie game, and you gave the ball back to Brady, he wouldn’t march down the field and win the game? If you don’t think that that is exactly how it would have played out then you are either stupid or just don’t watch the games. The Patriots were not losing that game even if the referees missed that fumble call.
While it was another win, it was once again closer than it should have been. And once again even with another game in the win column, there are still a lot of problems with this team. I would say that I am nervous after another iffy performance by the defense with the Falcons coming to town this week, but the Falcons are dead. They just blew a lead yesterday to Jay Cutler’s Dolphins. It is amazing that with the Patriots coming up on the schedule, they already were seeing ghosts and melted into a puddle. And now, coming into a primetime Super Bowl rematch, all they are going to hear about all week is how they blew a game and how the Patriots came back down 14 from the Jets and won. Patriots are going to take down the Falcons once again, book it.