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After Further Review: Patriots vs. Giants

20191011-AfterFurtherReview-PDC

First Quarter

-The Patriots came out in power personnel to start the game, running all seven plays of their first possession with fullback Jakob Johnson on the field and six-of-the-seven with two tight ends. But aside from a nice catch and run from Sony Michel and a nice run by Brandon Bolden, they struggled to get anything else, including three-straight runs in short yardage that failed to pick up a first down. To turn the ball over on downs after getting to 2nd-and-3 was a disappointment. The Giants were winning the line of scrimmage while Michel hesitated too long to find where he wanted to run.

-Dietrich Wise was the top defensive end in the 3-4 defense and made a remarkable play on 2nd-and-short, defeating his blocker and making the tackle without losing any ground. Wise hasn't played a huge role in this defense but he's been effective in limited time.

-Marshall Newhouse was overwhelmed on the opening play of the second possession, beaten right across his face by Markus Golden, who was active all night. Newhouse has been thrust into a difficult situation and breakdowns like this are becoming common. It set the stage for a three-and-out.

-The Patriots threw a mug blitz (double A gap) at Daniel Jones and while he looked calm in the face of that pressure coming, Stephon Gilmore was right there to get a hand in on the pass and deflect up and into the arms of John Simon.

-Brady gave it right back on the next play, a play action pass from 22 personnel that only had Edelman out in a route. Brady tried to force it up the seam but missed his target. Seemed like he would've had it if he had thrown a split second sooner but a quick reload allowed the window to close.

-Ryan Izzo did a good job late in the play to get open and get 20 yards on a third down. But again it was like making something happen out of the chaos and no one was open initially.

-It's just impressive to watch the New England defensive front, they're so strong on the edges, stout up the middle and their inside linebackers come downhill hard. A lot of fun to watch how in-sync and tough the group is.

-Great push by Brandon Bolden to force the blocked punt, coupled with a great athletic play by Chase Winovich, who showed great awareness to find the ball. Winovich is being managed perfectly to start his career and the fact that he keeps making plays can't be swept under the rug.

Second Quarter

-The Patriots didn't get too exotic with the defensive packages but threw a wide array of blitzer and pressures at Daniel Jones which actually handled better than most rookies might. With his real weaponry around him, Jones should have success this season.

-The inability to sustain downfield blocks has been one of the biggest deterrents for the offense this season. Ted Karras' struggle to get to the second level and cut off the backside linebacker was one play that jumped out. But the other problem is that Michel can't seem to make anyone miss or break any tackles. If a defenders gets to him, he's tackling him.

-Across the board the lack of dynamic players with the ball in their hands jumps off the screen. After James White there are very few open field plays being made. White can make guys miss with sharp cuts, otherwise the Pats are getting what's there and not much more.

-Not sure where Jones was throwing it on Duron Harmon's interception but that was a gift and the kind that Harmon has received before. The Patriots mix of pressure and coverage forced him into some bad decisions. It was the mental mistakes, not really the forced physical mistakes that the Pats D has been making plenty of as well. Just felt like a more cerebral domination, maybe because of the short week.

-After a nice adjustment and catch by Jakobi Meyers to get the Pats inside the five-yard-line, it took three attempts to get two yards into the end zone. It did seem like Brady's sneak got in on second down, but everything was a grind.

-Just a great play by Jones to Tate on the Giants one touchdown, a 64-yard catch. Jonathan Jones was right there and just barely missed the ball. Credit to the Giants on that one. Might've liked to see Harmon get there and make the tackle.

-On Brady's fumble that was picked up for a touchdown it was Ryan Izzo getting straight-up beat off the edge. Brady was forced to hold the ball as well as Josh Gordon's route was a mess.

-The Patriots best drive of the game came right before halftime, an 11-play, 75-yard drive that came on the heels of giving up a bad scoop-and-score that brought a Josh Gordon injury with it. It was a nice bounceback and heavily featured James White.

Third Quarter

-The Giants came out in no huddle in the third and were having good success with it until Gilmore intercepted Jones at the 30. Three plays of 10 yards or more was the kind of success the Giants were chasing for most of the night and this was as close as they would get to the end zone outside of the one big scoring play.

-Gilmore's pick was an outstanding play as he could passed the receiver off and stayed underneath but he had the awareness to continue to drop in the zone to take away the out/comeback and as a result the ball was thrown right to him.

-The Patriots responded with their second-straight impressive offensive drive even though it ended with a missed field goal. It took 16 plays and ate up nearly 10 minutes of clock time, which in a one-score game was much needed.

-The drive was still a grind, which is a testament to the players who couldn't sub out because three weapons were out with injuries, but also a reminder that the offense is still looking for who they can lean on. Just two plays went more than nine yards, a 16-yard screen pass to Bolden and a 12-yarder to Edelman.

-Some interesting usage of Shilique Calhoun as he played more hand-down defensive end in a 3-3-5 nickel package. Most of the game was spent in 2-4-5, with four stand up linebackers but Calhoun got a bit of a different role than we've seen.

Fourth Quarter

-Nice to see Gunner Olszewski find a hole in coverage and pick up 29 yards to start the fourth-quarter. He's come a long way since this summer when he was firmly on the roster bubble.

-Also a nice catch by Ryan Izzo which was even more impressive given how many plays Izzo was in on. There were plenty of things to correct from Izzo's performance but he hung in there and competed when being asked to play a huge role.

-The Pats went for it on fourth down from the Giants 33 but the protection and development of the routes just wasn't in sync. Brady initially ducked an edge rush, popped up and had to unload quickly as another rusher was coming in his face. With just five yards needed it was surprising to see no one get open quickly.

-The Giants were trying to set up a screen when Jamie Collins quickly jumped around his blocker and blew up the running back just as he caught it, forcing the fumble that Van Noy picked up and took to the house. This is second-level athleticism at its finest and another prime example of how good Collins and Van Noy are together.

-One thing about Tom Brady and Julian Edelman, no matter how much the offense might struggle to get going, there's always going to be at least one "wow" play and the 36-yard toss-and-catch to set up the Pats final score was a nice button on the game. It gave Brady his 91st career 300-yard game (3rd most all-time) and Edelman his 13th career 100-yard game.

10 Takeaways

  1. Big picture this was more of what we've seen this season - Defense great, offense grinding it out and an obligatory missed extra point.
  2. Getting Meyers, Olszewski and Izzo more action will aid their development but they still have a long way to go.
  3. The offensive line continues to look out of sync. I hoped they would build off of some good second-half plays against the Redskins but there was again a lot of inconsistency across the board. Isaiah Wynn could definitely help.
  4. I've been leaning towards the lack of run game being on the offensive line, and they're certainly a significant part of it, but after this game I'm feeling more down on Michel than I have been. Not sure if he's over thinking but he's not hitting the hole hard, nor is he making himself hard to tackle.
  5. Not sure how much more praise I can heap on the defense. They're just top-to-bottom stacked and even the role players are chipping in.
  6. One role player of interest though is Michael Bennett, whose role appears to be a closer pass rusher, reserved for only third-and-longs or end of game situations. The Pats are a two defensive tackle team but Bennett's been buried behind really good years from Shelton, Butler and Guy. You can even throw Wise in there as being effective.
  7. Tom Brady continues to grind. It's unfortunate it's not easier for him, part of that's on injuries, part of that's on a failure of personnel that they've tried to surround him with and the last part is on the guys around him not doing enough. He might not be having a blast but he's making it work and hopefully some reinforcements arrive soon.
  8. It all comes down to Julian Edelman and James White. If they're healthy come January, the Pats will have a fighting chance against anyone. But it's not hard to imagine this offense getting shut down. That's where the first loss of the season will come from.
  9. The defense is starting to give up one big play a game, which isn't all that concerning, but if it starts to become two or three things could get dicey in the win-loss columns. They still refuse to give up any sustained drives which is most encouraging.
  10. The offense is benefiting greatly from the defensive dominance. They're getting short fields and ton of snaps to wear the opposing defense out. A team that sustains some drives against the Patriots defense would put the pressure on though, forcing them to be more efficient. But we'll just wait and see if/when that happens.

Personnel

Offense

  • 11 personnel - 54 snaps
  • 21 personnel - 6 snaps
  • 22 personnel - 8 snaps
  • 12 personnel - 1 snap
  • Goal line - 3 snaps

Defense

  • 2-4-5 - 38 snaps
  • 1-4-6 - 6 snaps
  • 2-3-6 - 1 snap
  • 3-4 - 2 snaps
  • 3-3-5 - 3 snaps

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