The Pats rolled over Tampa Bay this afternoon, to a tune of a 20 point romp. This route included lights out defense from New England, and the offense finally finding some rhythm in both the passing game, as well as the running game.
Here are five quick reaction takeaways from this win.
1. Defense Is Legit
Through the first two games of the season, the Pats defense had given up a total of 31 points. However many thought that this was the results of having the luxury of going up against two anemic offenses in the New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills. But I think they silenced their critics with an absolute domination of the Buccaneer offense. The secondary struggled out of the gate, but they quickly settled in and locked on to the Bucs receivers. They got some help as Vincent Jackson missed a good portion of this game with a rib injury, but never the less, it was a strong showing from the secondary. The front seven had a solid outing as well, holding Tampa Bay to 97 rushing yards. Chandler Jones, Tommy Kelly and newly extended Rob Ninkovich were in on the quarterback all day, combining for three sacks and 12 total tackles.
2. Offense Improving
After a scoreless first quarter for the Patriots offense, most fans were probably thinking that they were in for another painful outing like the one we witnessed last Thursday night. But Brady and company righted the ship, and showed us that there is hope for the remainder of the season. Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins were on the same page with Brady throughout the game, as they caught a combined 10 balls for 93 yards and two Thompkins touchdowns. Brandon Bolden was active for the first time in 2013, and he responded in a big way with 49 receiving yards and 51 rushing yards. The Patriots offense really got going once they started running the football, and it was a route from there. They finished the game with 358 total yards with 156 of those coming on the ground.
3. Offensive Line Impressive
A big part of the Patriots offensive success in this game was the offensive line dominating the line of scrimmage. They paved the way for the running backs 4.7 yards per carry, and even though Brady was dropped for three sacks, he had a lot of time to throw for the majority of the game. The second Thompkins touchdown was made possible by the offensive line, as Brady had all day to let Thompkins’ route develop, and complete the touchdown. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer left in the second half due to a foot injury, but Marcus Cannon stepped right in and performed admirably.
4. Brady Not As Sharp
Brady completed 25 of 36 passes for 225 yards to go along with two touchdowns and one bad interception. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they certainly aren’t Brady-like. Brady missed a number of open throws and open reads in this one, including missing Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman deep in the first quarter. He also threw a wildly inaccurate throw intended for tight end Zach Sudfeld in the end zone, and this was picked off by safety Mark Barron. There were a lot of positive things to take away from this game on the offensive side of the ball, but Brady will have to be better if the Patriots want to go into Atlanta and beat the Falcons next week.
5. Gostkowski Perfect
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski has taken a lot of heat over the last year because of some un-timely misses, and overall inconsistency in kicking the football. He hit all three field goals in this one, including a key 53 yarder at the end of the first half. It was also pointed out by CSNNE’s Michael Giardi, that Gostkowski has had only one kickoff returned thus far in 2013. Every other one has been a touchback, and that is an underrated aspect of a good place kicker.