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Stock Watch: Patriots get contributions in all three phases against Cincinnati

20191216-StockWatch-PDC

STOCK UP

1. Secondary – The secondary came up with four interceptions, three in the third quarter. However according to Stephon Gilmore's postgame comments, the cornerback believes he could have had two more. Prior to the 2019 season, Gilmore had never had a pick six. Now, he has two. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the last Patriot to have two pick sixes in a season was Tedy Bruschi in 2003. Gilmore is playing at an elite level, but so is the rest of the secondary. J.C. Jackson had two interceptions on Sunday as well.

2. Special teams – Week after week defensive turnovers and special teams plays have picked up the Patriots offense when they needed it most. As the first half wound down and the Patriots offense faced another three and out, Jake Bailey's punt sailed 41 yards to the Bengals 25 yard line. The punt was muffed due to Matthew Slater's harassment, and Patriots special teamer Justin Bethel was there to pounce on the ball and secure the recovery. The turnover set up a Patriots field goal and gave New England a 13-10 lead.

3. Running game – The Patriots have struggled to run the ball all season long. Today was a step in the right direction for the Patriots backs. Rex Burkhead ran his way into the end zone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Sony Michel appeared to have his best game of the season, running for 89 yards while contributing 14 additional yards in the passing game. By no means is the Patriots running game "fixed", but today should give Patriots fans some hope.

STOCK DOWN

1. First half – After a near perfect start on offense going eight plays for 75 yards and a touchdown, things didn't look so good for the Patriots on either side of the ball. The defense gave up a touchdown drive that included a 29-yard run to Joe Mixon where the Patriots had three missed tackles in the back field. Later in the half, the defense held the Bengals to three on their next scoring drive, but offensively, the Patriots were not sustaining drives. Coach Belichick always emphasizes the importance of his team playing a full 60 minute game. Today, the first half wasn't so pretty.

2. Third down – This continues to be an area where the Patriots struggle. They converted 6 of 14 third down attempts. It is an improvement from last week but still an area that needs work.

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