Aug 22, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers in the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
4. Offensive line steps up
In my mind, the biggest storyline coming into this game was the offensive line, and how they would hold up against the best front seven in football. I was expecting the big guys to struggle, not only because Carolina has some great talent up front, but because New England has been shuffling a number of different players in and out along the offensive line for the past few weeks.
But they stepped up.
Playing against the team that sacked the quarterback the most times last year, the Patriots did not allow one sack all night long. They gave Tom Brady all the time he needed to sit back, survey the field, and start picking apart the Panthers’ secondary. And on top of that, they did this without Sebastian Vollmer, who is one of the best right tackles in the entire league. This doesn’t mean this was a perfect night. Far from it. Jordan Devey continued to struggle on the inside, and the Pats could never get a good running game started. They averaged a mere 2.6 yards per carry on the night.
But overall, I would consider this a big win for this offensive line. They went up against the best, and they came out on top. As a side note, the intense center battle between Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly is still deadlocked as far as I’m concerned. I just can’t figure out who is going to be starting on September seventh in Miami.