It’s easy to form a quick opinion about a player, a team, or a position after watching a game without letting the season play out, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do in the weekly postgame “Rush to Judgment” feature here on Musket Fire.
Over the first two games of the season, Patriots fans were wondering where the running game was, despite Tom Brady throwing the ball with tremendous success. When the Patriots defense collapsed, surrendering a 21-point lead, and Tom Brady threw pick after pick in the Week 3 loss to Buffalo, the pondering of a running game turned to clamoring for the running game. Fans wanted to see the offense take time off the clock, keep the defense rested, take the pressure off of Tom Brady, and see more of the flashes of talent from rookie running back Stevan Ridley.
The Patriots utilized the running game more during last Sunday’s 31-19 win over the Oakland Raiders, and did so with success. As a team, the Pats rushed for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns on 30 carries. The defense wasn’t on the filed as much and they held a lead while eating up clock in the second half. Could this be a sign of things to come?
Here is a breakdown on the offensive balance over the first four weeks of the season:
- Week One, vs Miami: 22 rushes, 48 passes
- Week Two, vs San Diego: 24 rushes, 40 passes
- Week Three, vs Buffalo: 26 rushes, 45 passes
- Week Four, vs Oakland: 30 rushes, 30 passes
“I thought we did a great job balancing the game out, for the first time in four weeks. It was a big part of what we were trying to accomplish. We were able to run the ball inside, outside. All the different backs ran it and they ran it well. That’s how you become a great offense, you keep teams off balance. You run it when you need to run it, you throw it when you need to throw it. You’re able to do enough in both areas where you have to respect it, and we did a great job of that.”