The New England Patriots are moving forward with a 3-0 record so far and the win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gives a good idea that the team is heading towards the right direction in light of many injuries to key players. Finally the team’s chemistry is building as a whole – the offense is learning to connect and putting points on the board, and the defense is improving on making stops when it’s needed the most.
One of the highlights in playing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the two major players that once were a Buc and now is part of our roster. Since Stevan Ridley still faces issues with ball security, the load in the running game had to be distributed, and with Shane Vereen out due to a broken wrist, the other running backs had to step up. I was impressed by how well the ball was distributed for the Bucs match up and how well the running backs stepped up a notch.
Although the return of Brandon Bolden was exciting to see along with his three carries for 51 yards including a 46-yard run, and a welcomed five receptions for 49 yards, (good to know we have the option to fill in Vereen’s role) it was LeGarrette Blount that led the team in rushing with 65 yards on 14 carries for an average of 4.6 per rush. Ridley had just 11 carries for 35 yards; 1 reception for 8 yards, an average of 3.2 per carry and 8.0 per reception. The Patriots had the assistance of Blount, Bolden and Ridley in the running game while the Buccaneers had to rely heavily on Doug Martin’s running game with 20 carries for 88 yards, the longest being a 11 yard with an average of 4.4 per rush. The only help Martin had was a mere 1 carry for 5 yards from Mike James.
Aqib Talib has also made his presence known with great coverage of Buccaneers top receiver Vincent Jackson, which he got one interception, 2 tackles and 1 pass defended. On the other side, the Bucs got it even with Mark Barron taking an interception when Tom Brady tried to connect with Zach Sudfeld in the end zone. Other than that, the Patriots had a very good production from the two former Bucs, and this is what Talib had to say on his interception.
“Yeah we had a good idea of the concepts they like to run in two-minute [drill] before the end of the half. Matty P [Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia] called the perfect play for what they like to do and we made the play.”