Week 3 – The Mattyoshow Review

In this segment I will provide a weekly review for the previous weekend’s Patriot game, as well as my prediction for next weekend’s game.

-Tom Brady and the offense sprung back to life this week against a Bills defense that isn’t overly terrible.  Again, the two young tightends received a lot of looks throughout the course of the game.  Hernandez led the team with 6 catches for 65 yards (targeted 7 times), while Gronkowski added 3 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown (3 targets).  I was encouraged that seven players caught at least one pass, but surprisingly only one pass went to a running back.

-Speaking of running backs, how about Danny Woodhead?  This guy has been on the team for eight days and he is expected to replace Kevin Faulk.  Woodhead surprisingly did his best Faulk impression by playing primarily on third down and totaling 42 yards and a touchdown on only three carries.  I’m interested to see if Woodhead’s role will be expanded as he spends more time learning the offense.

-BenJarvus Green-Ellis showed why he is still in New England and Laurence Maroney is in Denver.  Green-Ellis ran hard for 98 yards and a touchdown on only 16 carries.

-For the second week in a row, Wes Welker has not been as involved in the offense as in the past.  Welker still caught 4 passes for 45 yards (targeted 6 times), but his presence was sporadic and not exceptionally impactful.  I’m not sure if teams are making a more concerted effort towards stopping Welker, while removing coverage from other players (leaving less players to cover guys like Hernandez and Gronkowski), or is Welker’s health is something that we still need to question.  But, I did see Welker have two passes bounce off of his hands and hit the ground, granted they were very tough balls to catch, but they were catchable.

-Jerod Mayo played like the defensive stalwart that we are used to seeing.  Mayo got only his second career sack in a very critical situation, while also amassing 9 tackles.  I was very encouraged to see Mayo flying around the field, something that we have not really seen so far this season.  Guyton and Spikes also played pretty well in the run game.

-Ron Brace and Jermaine Cunningham both got starts for the first time this season.  I love both of these guys, and expect much more of an impact from them as the season progresses.  Once Cunningham gets his head wrapped around the playbook, I’m looking for him to be a big playmaker later in the year.

-Harvard product Ryan Fitzpatrick put up almost 250 yards and two touchdowns.  That is a complete slap in the face for the Patriots pass defense.  Fitzpatrick is pretty mobile, so flushing him out of the pocket was not as important as usual, but Kyle Arrington and Darius Butler could not cover anybody.  Devin McCourty played pretty well again allowing Lee Evans to grab only 5 passes for 54 yards.  But, aside for McCourty the rest of the secondary played like complete garbage.

-That being said, Patrick Chung and Brandon Meriweather both came out with huge interceptions.  It was exciting to see Chung finally make a play in the passing game and Meriweather to get back to his ball-hawking ways that we saw all last season.

-If I was playing the Patriots this season, I would attack the #2 cornerback position all game until I made them show that they could stop you.  That is the weakest spot on the entire defense, and after Sunday’s display it doesn’t look like Kyle Arrington is the answer.

-The Bills racked up 134 yards on the ground, but I thought that the run defense played much better than that (you also have to take into consideration that Fitzpatrick ran for 18 yards).  Spiller broke off a 20 yard run at one point.  Aside from those two numbers, I was happy with the play of the defensive line and the linebacker corps.

NEXT WEEK’S PREDICTION: Patriots 28 – Dolphins 24

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