The report card is in for Week 4, and the New England Patriots have passed with flying colors after their 52-28 win over the Buffalo Bills yesterday. There were quite a few remarkable displays on tap, with Brandon Bolden’s 137-yard day being one of the brightest.
Patriots Pass Offense A
You know something went right when your starting quarterback finishes with a 120.1 QB Rating and a 96.5 TQBR. Tom Brady did just that, as he went 22-36 with three touchdowns, 340 yards, and no picks. Brady was only sacked once, as the Patriots protection was top notch. He shredded the Bills secondary to the tune of a 9.4 Y/A total.
With Brandon Lloyd being held down by rookie Stephen Gilmore in a surprising display from the CB and Julian Edelman out, it was all about Wes Welker. He had another big 100-yard day by catching nine passes for 129 yards and taking advantage of a favorable matchup against SCB Justin Rogers. Welker is the most consistent receiver on the Patriots, and he has 81% of everything thrown at him.
Rob Gronkowski bounced back to finish off with 104 receiving yards on five catches in an explosive effort.
Patriots Run Offense A+
This is as perfect as it gets, especially since Tom Brady ran for a four-yard touchdown. The Pats had two 100-yard rushing efforts for the first time since 1982, and a lot of credit has to be given to the offensive line and “Big Mike” for that. I mean, paving the way for a 247-yard rushing effort against the Buffalo Bills front seven is no easy task.
Brandon Bolden broke out in a big way with 137 rushing yards on 16 carries to average 8.6 YPC, and Stevan Ridley was also great in a 106-yard day. Bolden now looks like a potential No. 2 back to Ridley and has made his case for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart over Shane Vereen. It’s too early to tell, but it isn’t too early to celebrate a great UDFA find.
Patriots Pass Defense B
The Patriots pass defense played well, and they made Ryan Fitzpatrick look like his usual inconsistent self. However, I can’t give them a higher grade because Fitzpatrick did average nine yards per attempt against them. Even so, Devin McCourty came up big with two picks on his own, and Jerod Mayo and Tavon Wilson got in the act with an interception apiece. Chandler Jones did a great job as a pass rusher against a good rookie left tackle in Cordy Glenn, and he finished off with two QB hits and a sack.
Patriots Run Defense A+
The Patriots were able to shut down Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, which is no easy task even though both players are not at full strength. Brandon Spikes was the star of the night with two crucial forced fumbles that had huge effects for the defense. Spiller was able to average 4.1 yards per carry, but Jackson was thoroughly shut down on 13 carries for a grand total of 29 yards.
Mayo continues to rack up the tackles and finished with six, while Rob Ninkovich had seven while also showing off his versatility. Jones added a tackle for loss in run defense, and Vince Wilfork also put in a strong display.
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