Even though the New England Patriots played pretty bad as a team, there were still a few players that shined. And of course, there were more than a few that stunk up the joint.
In my opinion, here are the four “up” players for the Pats, and the four “down” players.
In his first NFL game ever attended, the rookie threw for 157 yards and a touchdown, all while completing close to 70% of his passes. He was deadly accurate, especially on the deep ball. He was also poised in the pocket, he showcased his quick release, and flashed a bit of mobility late in the third quarter close to the end zone. I don’t want to overhype him this early in the season, but he has already set a high bar for himself over the next few weeks.
He might not have been as flashy as Garoppolo, but Butler played just as well as the rookie quarterback. He was blanketing every Redskins’ receiver that came his way, and even knocked down a few passes (should have intercepted a few as well). Butler doesn’t have the talent to start for New England, but as a depth guy? Absolutely. His performance yesterday made getting a job with the Pats even more realistic for the rookie from West Alabama.
Five catches, 119 yards, and a touchdown. Not bad for the 25-year-old. Tyms was on fire yesterday, cleanly beating the man covering him, and making a few deep catches. He also made what potentially could be the catch of the year, although it was called incomplete on the play. However after taking a look at the replay, it’s pretty obvious Tyms caught it cleanly, albeit after bobbling it, and falling to the ground.
LaFell only caught two balls yesterday (he had at least one taken away by a penalty), but I was impressed with his route running, and really his size in general. He is much bigger than the rest of the Pats’ wideouts, which makes him an easy target for whoever is quarterbacking. I expect LaFell to continue to improve from here, and into the regular season.
Just an awful day for Beauharnais. He was constantly beat in pass coverage, and cost New England a lot of yardage in doing so. He was okay against the run, but even there he struggled to get off blocks at times. He nearly single-handidly gave up the Skins second touchdown pass, where he failed to react to Ted Bolser running into the end zone, giving Colt McCoy an easy pitch and catch for six.
Hopefully this was an anomaly for Ryan, because the Pats will be counting on him big-time once the regular season begins. But Ryan struggled yesterday, getting beat multiple times, including giving up the first touchdown of the day to Aldrick Robinson. He seemed a bit slow in his reactions to the receiver, which is not good when playing in the slot.
I feel bad for Finch, I really do. He has a lot of potential, and his explosive talent jumped out at multiple junctures in yesterday’s contest. But if you fumble the ball in Foxboro, you are going to have a tough time staying on this team. Finch was holding the ball way out from his body, and unsurprisingly, he coughed it up. He later muffed a punt, although he did manage to fall on it himself.
One play sticks out in my mind, and that play was Hawkins taking an awful angle angle at the receiver, and instead of making a play on the ball, he took out his teammate, and allowed a big completion. You can’t do that in the NFL. It’s just unacceptable.
With Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, and D.J. Williams all out, this was Jones’ chance to make a push for a roster spot. But he struggled last night. He didn’t reel in one reception, and he had a bad drop on a pass from Garoppolo. If this performance was any indication of how far he has come this offseason, he won’t make the final roster.
Ryan Mallet’s Slide
Wow, was that awful or what?