The New England Patriots defeated the undefeated Saints in exciting fashion Sunday evening in Foxborough to move to 5 – 1 on the season.
Tom Brady drove the field with a little over a minute to play and threw a beautiful touchdown strike to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins to win the game, 30 – 27 with 5 seconds left. It was the start to a memorable night in Boston, The Redsox would come back from being down 5 – 1 in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs on a Big Papi grand slam. They would win in the 9th off a Salty walk off single to drive a runner in.
Boston sports fans will never forget that night, and neither will I.
But back to the Patriots and their big win over the Saints and what I took away from the win.
1. The defense is legit and can play with any offense.
The Saints offense has been rolling in the last 3 games and they are not short of any weapons but New England slowed them all down Sunday to beat the Saints.
The secondary has improved leap and bounds from last season and they are able to cover for long periods of time with an inconsistent pass rush, and they have even caused a few coverage sacks. Talib, Dennard, Arrington, Gregory, and McCourty have all stepped it up this year, and Talib has sealed his name as a top 3 corner in the NFL. Every week he is going against the opponent’s best receiver and shutting them down.
He took on Jimmy Graham the big tight end for the Saints and the number one target for Brees and completely took him out of the game. Talib “mugged” him through 2 and half quarters, jamming him at the line and basically gave him a beating. The Patriots were very physical with the Saints receivers and that lead to only 7 points at the half for the Saints.
2. The run defense looked weak.
The Patriots run defense down Wilfork and Kelly looked vulnerable in the second half of the game when the Saints’ Thomas and Sproles ran all over the Patriots for an eventual touchdown. Kelly and the two rookies could help fill the void left by Wilfork, not all of it but enough to not be ran all over like that, but without Kelly that is very hard to accomplish. There might be another reason for it too, the Patriots were focusing mainly on stopping the pass rather than the run.
Either way, the run defense isn’t as good as it was, but when Kelly returns it will be a little bit better.
3. The offensive line needs to be better.
The offensive line looked good sometimes against the Saints, on a few plays giving Brady a lot of time and then on others looked horrible, giving Brady less than 2 seconds to throw. Brady was frustrated with his offensive line at different points in the game, yelling at them as he ran off the field once and then another time, slamming his fist on the field after a sack. Brady isn’t as happy with his offensive line as he has been in past year and they definitely need to step up their game.
The Saints got 4.5 sacks on Tom Brady. One or two of them were coverage sacks when nobody was open but the rest were just beating the offensive line. The line seemed to struggle the most against blitzes and they have to play better than this to give Brady time because that is how the offense will move the ball better. That and not allowing Dobson in the game plan too much.