There has been much debate as to whether to blame the offense or the defense for Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Giants. The defense played one of their best games of the season, until the last drive. The offensive struggled, not scoring until the third quarter and never was in sync at any point during the game.
The Patriots ran multiple three tight end sets and focused on running the ball in the first quarter. Although they did not score any points, running ball was one way to protect Tom Brady in passing situations. After the first quarter the three tight end sets and running plays virtually disappeared.
The Patriots ran a total of ten plays in which three tight ends were on the field, although not exactly how many of these sets were ran in the first quarter, at least half of them were. Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis opened the game with an 18-yard run, but only finished the game with 52 yards on 12 carries.
The Giants have an explosive defensive line that can get after opposing quarterbacks, and the Patriots knew that coming in. They needed to come up with creative ways to counter that and keep the defensive ends honest. A consistent running game is one of those ways, which the Patriots abandoned after the first quarter.
Another way to beat a defense like the Giants, or at least keep them honest, are running screen plays for the running backs. The Patriots didn’t run one screen play to a running back the entire game.
Brady is not one of the best quarterbacks in the game when he is under pressure, there is no denying that. He looks uncomfortable and forces throws a lot of the times, which result in interceptions, just like yesterday.
When he stands calm in the pocket, and gets the time to throw that is when he is at his best, and one of the best in the game. The past few weeks Brady has been under a lot of pressure week in and week out and hasn’t had as much time in the pocket that he is used to. In order for Brady to be at his best the Patriots need to find ways to give him the time he needs, besides just blocking better because lets face it the offensive line isn’t that good that they can block any defense line one on one.
Consistently running the ball is one of the ways to give your quarterback more time, and the Patriots abandoned that after the first quarter. Just because they didn’t get any points, doesn’t mean it wasn’t working. Jumping to conclusions about things too quickly is what has gotten the Patriots to where they are now — although 5-3 and tied for first in the AFC East, they just are not playing at the level that they should and are expected to.