The Patriots will have plenty of humble pie to give out after Sunday evening’s performance by the entire team, more specifically the offense and special teams. I would even say the coaches will be eating their fair share of humble pie this week after a few head scratching calls.
On paper the Patriots were better than the Eagles, stats, and their record proves that too, but that’s why they play the game on the field and that is why the Patriots can’t expect to win based on their name alone.
Here are the three areas and players that need to dig deep this week and find some guts.
1. Special Teams:
They were the worst unit on the entire field Sunday. Blocked punt return for a touchdown, a punt return for a touchdown, and two failed onside kicks out of three attempts. Two of the onside kicks should have never been called, so those are on the special teams coach and because it wasn’t executed, on the players too. The special teams were a major reason the Patriots lost plain and simple.
2. WR Brandon LaFell:
I’m calling him out by name. He was the worst WR on the field for the Patriots for the drops and cut off routes he ran. Brady said on his second interception that he was trying to throw it away, so maybe LaFell didn’t cut that one off, but he did a few others. He also had a huge drop on what could have been a first down on the last drive of the game. LaFell may not be the guy you want as a top two target, he may just be a nice number three or four behind Edelman and Gronk. He will have a chance at redemption this weekend against a very good defensive Texans team. He better start stepping up.
3. The Wide Receivers:
I had to call LaFell out by name, but I will throw this entire group on this list as well. Where the heck were they yesterday? Brady either had no time to throw the football or all day and when he had time nobody was getting open. Danny Amendola dropped a pass on the final drive of the game like LaFell, but it was a tougher catch, although it was a pass Edelman routinely catches. It’s evident that without Gronk and Edelman, Edelman especially, the wide outs has a tough time getting open. Martin also dropped a pass on the final drive where Brady was trying to tie things up and send the game to overtime. This group of wide outs was a huge let down Sunday. This kind of performance is the kind that makes Terrell Owens sound like a good idea.
4. Run Defense:
The defense wasn’t bad, they only allowed 14 points of the 35 points the Eagles scored. They weren’t on the field very much, but the two times the Eagles scored, albeit once on a short field after a dumb onside kick, the run defense was responsible. They weren’t awful, let me say that again, because this loss is not on the defense, but they could have been better. Hightower looks to be the Pats best defensive player and undoubtedly best run stuffer.
5. Play Calling:
I don’t like to harp on play calling, I’m no coach, but the Pats seem like they refuse to run the football. The running game needs work, the OL needs work, but they could give the running game a chance. Blount did okay running, but it wasn’t called very often. Blount ran the ball only 13 times for 54 yards. If the run was called more often in the first half or the beginning of the third before the game got out of hand, maybe he would have gained 100 yards and maybe it would have slowed down the MOMO the Eagles were gaining. Maybe the threat of a serious running attack would also back the defense off of Tom Brady.