New England Patriots Week 2 Grades

There won’t be many good grades to go around on offense after the New England Patriots 20-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but the Pats definitely put forward another great performance on defense in Week 2.

Patriots Pass Offense D

Donald Thomas and Marcus Cannon were absolutely terrible on the right side of the offensive line, which goes to show the value of having Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer being healthy. The dominance of Calais Campbell was just sickening for me to watch, even though we all saw it coming. Will the Pats be pressed to bring Brian Waters back after this lackluster display from the two backups? I honestly don’t think so, but it does raise more questions than answers about the offensive line depth. Well, it actually brings about more answers like, “Yes, depth is the big problem on the line with the starters being fine.”

Campbell and the Cardinals defense got Brady out of sync by sacking him four times, and Campbell was responsible for three total hits on Brady. He finished with 316 passing yards and was mediocre due to the constant pressure and the loss of Aaron Hernandez due to what appears to be a high ankle sprain.

I’m going to go with a D here despite the yardage output. The protection was poor, everything was out of sync, and the Pats didn’t generate enough points. The offense floundered and there’s no way to sugar coat it.

Patriots Rushing Offense D+

I’m going to give the Patriots a slightly higher grade to their rushing offense, simply because the Cardinals run defense is absolutely incredible. Stevan Ridley averaged under four yards per carry, but it’s actually just under about par for the course given the run stopping abilities of Adrian Wilson, the defensive line, and the great Daryl Washington in the middle, who had 13 tackles and a couple of tackles for a loss.

Patriots Pass Defense A

Killer, absolutely killer. How the heck the Patriots manage to shut down Larry Fitzgerald and only allow one catch for four yards? The offensive play calling was horrible, but the defensive scheming was impeccable, especially with regards to how the Pats handled Fitz. It was interesting to see that Sterling Moore took over for Ras-I Dowling in the slot, but it definitely worked.

Chandler Jones did his job against De’Anthony Batiste by consistently pressuring Kevin Kolb, which is another reason for his abysmal 15-27 day that yielded a putrid 140 yards. The fact that the Pats lost given the defense’s performance today speaks to the volume of the missed opportunities. Even so, praise has to be given to the defense; we’re in good hands. The pass defense was supposed to be the Patriots weakness outside of depth on the offensive line, so it’s great to see that the secondary is doing a terrific job. Devin McCourty was physical against Fitzgerald, and that’s exactly what we want to see from D-Mac in what is already shaping up to be a big bounce back year for the young CB.

Patriots Run Defense A

Chris Wells isn’t exactly an elite running back, but he’s about average overall so holding him to 3.1 yards per carry is definitely impressive. Heck, holding a third-string running back to that total warrants a good grade. Jones is a solid pass rusher, but his best work is done against the run. Both he and Brandon Spikes were the stars for the Patriots in this game, and they both forced fumbles and did an excellent job against the run.

Spikes finished the day with seven tackles, two QB hits, and one TFL, while Jerod Mayo led the team again by posting nine tackles. Patrick Peterson was given the ball once in the special Wildcat formation he has, and that play went for 17 yards and was the lone blemish in another great performance by one of the top run defenses in the NFL.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.


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