Week 7 – The Mattyoshow Review

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

-The old adage has to hold true after painfully sitting through the Pats vs. Chargers game yesterday: A win is a win.  That seems to be the sole focus of the Patriots each and every week, adding a victory to the win column.  Whether ugly, beautiful, sloppy, or perfect; it does not matter.  All that seems to matter to this team is the result at the end of the game.  Isn’t that how it should be for every team?  Yes, it definitely should be, but it isn’t always.

-Now let’s get down to business.  Coming out of Sunday’s game I’m very concerned about two things.  First, for the second week in a row the Patriots failed to complete a deep pass.  The longest reception of the day belonged to Aaron Hernandez who pulled in a 24 yarder, but he actually caught the ball about 10 yards from the line of scrimmage and then ran for the other 14.  I know we all want to think that this offense is as capable without Randy Moss as it was with him, but I’m just not seeing it.  The supposed “new deep threat” Brandon Tate has caught just one pass in the last two games (for 3 yards).  Safeties are going to keep creeping closer and closer to the line of scrimmage, taking away the underneath routes, if the Pats keep showing the inability to get the ball down field.  Tom Brady only threw for 159 yards!  That isn’t going to cut it against the upper echelon of teams on a consistent basis.

-Secondly, Malcolm Floyd and Legedu Naanee both didn’t play and Antonio Gates played but was banged up.  Yet, Philip Rivers still threw for over 330 yards.  That’s scary!  Patrick Crayton, Buster Davis, and Darren Sproles lit up the score card in terms of receiving.  What is going to happen when New England has to play guys by the name of Randy Moss and Percy Harvin?  I was confident that the Pats’ young defense was maturing and improving as the season was progressing, but I have to admit that I am a bit more concerned after watching the game yesterday.  Yes, the Chargers turnovers (which led to some quick points for the Patriots) certainly forced them into having the ball more frequently than New England, but how can you let backup receivers rack up that kind of yardage?  I thought that McCourty played pretty decent, but aside from him the secondary play was suspect.

-Contrarily, I was very encouraged by the play against the run.  The Chargers were down for almost the entire game, so they only attempted 19 rushes.  But, on those 19 rushes they gained a pathetic 38 yards.  Jerod Mayo played outstandingly for the second week in a row, piling up 11 total tackles (10 solo tackled!) and keeping Ryan Mathews and company in check, assisted by Brandon Spikes and Gary Guyton.

-Brandon Meriweather was back to punishing receivers on Sunday, but this time it was apparently “legal.”  Meriweather laid out Patrick Crayton early in the first quarter, driving his shoulder into Crayton’s ribs.  Meriweather decided that a celebration was necessary, although Crayton still managed to hold onto the ball and pick up the first down.  Keep it going Brandon, don’t change the way that you play.  Stay physical and aggressive.  If receivers are going to catch passes over the middle than light them up and make them think twice about running that route again.

-Danny Woodhead continues to be everyone’s favorite Patriot.  I’ll give it to the guy, he puts his all into every play.  Runs hard, blocks well, runs good routes, pretty good hands.  What more can you ask out of a 5’7” 190lb. running back?  I don’t mind Woodhead, but I’m concerned about Bill Belichick’s use of his number one running back, BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  After piling up two back to back good games against Buffalo and Miami in weeks 3 and 4 respectively, BenJarvus has yet to carry the ball more than 11 times and gain over 25 yards in a game.  I thought that Moss’ departure combined with the emergence of Green-Ellis meant going to a more balanced attack on offense…guess not.

NEXT WEEK’S PREDICTION – Patriots 35 – Vikings 34

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