The New England Patriots throttled the Indianapolis Colts on a Sunday evening in Massachusetts, and the Pats were led by a dominant passing attack and a solid performance from the pass defense that saw 12 points scored directly off of turnovers.
New England Patriots Pass Offense A+
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski were my co-game ball recipients for Sunday’s game, and it’s easy to see why when looking at the stats. They were both the most valuable players of the week at their respective positions, with Brady delivering an average of 9.5 yards per attempt and three TDs with no picks. He finished with high marks from ESPN’s TQBR, and his “normal” QB Rating of 127.2 was also something to behold. Brady was at his surgical best and took full advantage of a banged-up Colts defense.
Rob Gronkowski caught all seven targets for an average of 19.6 yards per reception- including two touchdowns. We will all sorely miss him over the next few weeks.
Julian Edelman and Wes Welker are going to be nuisances in a tandem for opposing defenses, because the Colts showed they cannot stop a Brady-led assault filled with pinpoint, short-range passes to those two. Welker caught seven passes for 80 yards, while Edelman hauled in five for 58.
Patriots Rushing Offense D+
I was very disappointed by the inability of the offensive line to generate push against the Colts weaker defensive front seven, and it was uncharacteristic of this team. The Patriots line was terrific in pass protection, but they certainly left a lot to be desired run blocking wise.
Stevan Ridley needs to get a large part of the blame as well, because he looked like the worst running back on the field despite actually being the best of them all. He averaged a paltry 2.2 yards per carry. Backup Shane Vereen’s numbers weren’t good either, but he actually played pretty well and suffered from some poor blocking up front as the game wore on that limited his explosiveness.
Who else loved Edelman’s 47-yard reverse and the amazing block from Welker that helped get it going?
Pats Pass Defense A
Even though they got burned several times by T.Y. Hilton, I have to give the Patriots pass defense a solid “A” for making big plays all day and scoring some points on their own. Nabbing three picks off of a good quarterback in Andrew Luck is no short feat, and holding down Reggie Wayne to under a 50% catch rate is even more impressive. Aside from some blown coverages, Aqib Talib had a great debut for the New England Patriots.
Tavon Wilson needs some more playing time over Steve Gregory, and Kyle Arrington needs to be flat-out benched. Alfonzo Dennard’s pick six was the best defensive play of the game, and I feel like Devin McCourty is getting even stronger as the season wears on and is one of the most versatile DB in the league. He’s also one of the best.
Run Defense C-
Another surprisingly poor performance was seen from the Patriots run defense, because Vick Ballard should not be able to run for almost a full yard per carry more than he usually does (4.5 to 3.6). The Colts committed of running backs is underwhelming, and yet they still totaled 119 yards on the Pats defense. Donald Brown only received four carries due to knee issues, but even the limited day from the top rusher on the Colts didn’t make things easy enough for the Pats run defense.
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