Sep 14, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley (54) during the fourth quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Vikings 30-7. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
2. Balanced offensive attack
New England wasn’t balanced at all last week in Miami, throwing the ball a whopping 60 times, and running it only 20 times but they completely reversed the game-plan today, which was a big reason why they were able to get the win.
Led by Stevan Ridley, the Pats ran the ball 37 times, for 150 yards. The blocking up front wasn’t particularly great, but just having the threat there gave Brady time to work in the pocket, and it allowed them to control the game. Since the blocking wasn’t terrific,we have to give a ton of credit to Ridley, who ran hard, and frequently made something out of nothing. When the Patriots run the football, they are a tough team to beat.
In the passing game, there isn’t much to talk about, because they didn’t throw the ball a lot. Tom Brady had an efficient day, completing 68% of his passes for 149 yards, and one touchdown. His top targets were Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, who had 10 of his 15 completions on the day. The offensive line did a much better job in pass protection, only allowing Brady to go down once, but they were aided tremendously by a strong running game, and a lot of play-action passes.
With that said, I still think this offense is a work in progress. Aside from Brady’s connection with Edelman, there isn’t much to get super excited about in the passing game. But it will come with time. Once Brady gets on the same page with Gronkowski, and Dobson begins to get integrated a bit more, they will be just fine.
On that note, it is interesting to note that Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell both had zero catches on the day, and were hardly targeted by Brady. It is sad to see the quarterback not trust these guys, especially Amendola, because he has a lot of talent to win 1-on-1 battles across the middle.