New England Patriots Game Grades: High Marks All Around


Before I begin this week’s game grades, I want to say that this will be my last piece this week that has to do with last Sunday’s win over the Bears. This upcoming matchup with Denver is easily the biggest regular season game of the year, so I won’t be wasting any time getting to breaking down that contest.

But first let’s grade the New England Patriots’ dominant win over Chicago.

Passing Offense: A+

It doesn’t get much better in terms of offensive efficiency than it did on Sunday in Foxboro. Tom Brady was razor sharp, the offensive line was perfect, and Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell absolutely ate up whoever tried to cover them. The combination of Gronk and LaFell has become quite dangerous for the Patriots, which will really help them come January, where you have to beat man coverage against the quality defenses in the postseason.

I honestly couldn’t find any negative things with New England’s aerial attack on Sunday. They were virtually perfect everywhere I looked, from the big boys up front giving Brady all the time in the world, to Tim Wright abusing linebacker when Rob Gronkowski went to the locker room. Julian Edelman did only have one catch on the day (and dropped two others), but he has been so good up until this point, so I think he has earned a pass.

Rushing Offense: A-

The Patriots racked up 122 yards on the ground on Sunday, and while they finished the game with only 3.8 yards a carry, I don’t think that stat reflects how well they established the run to open the game. Jonas Gray ran hard and decisive, although the offensive line was opening up holes big enough for me to run through, so that made Gray’s job much easier.

It was clear from the start that the Pats wanted to get the ground game going early to keep Chicago’s pass rush at bay, which would then allow Tom Brady to attack the weak Bears’ secondary. When it was all said and done, New England’s rushing attack did it’s job this week.

Pass Defense: A

The final stats don’t look all that great because of garbage time, but when the game actually mattered, this secondary looked like the best pass defense in football. Brandon Browner is getting closer and closer to complete game shape, and Darrelle Revis continues to prove that he is 100% back to his elite ways.

Jay Cutler has a very good group of receivers to work with, but for the majority of this game, his aerial assault was absolutely shut down by Revis and company. Browner and Revis had no trouble with the two big wideouts on the outside, Devin McCourty was excellent as always in keeping everything in front of him, and Logan Ryan did a solid job on the third receiver with Alfonzo Dennard inactive. In addition to this, the pass rush fared well with Chandler Jones, getting in on Cutler for three sacks, and four quarterback hits.

Part of the praise has to be given to newcomer Akeem Ayers, who was explosive off the edge in his debut, but Zach Moore and Dont’a Hightower also deserve some credit, as they got to Cutler a few times throughout the game. It won’t be easy generating a rush without Jones, but if Ayers and company continue their hot play against Denver, I like the Pats’ chances.

Run Defense: B

It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful either. After giving up 218 rushing yards to the Jets on Thursday night football, 153 yards to Matt Forte and company is not too bad. Forte did average six yards a pop, which shows there is still work to be done in the front seven, but let’s keep in mind the Patriots were in a nickel defense for the majority of the game, and since this one was an early blowout, New England played conservative, waiting for the pass for most of the contest.

I am not giving the run defense a pass, I just don’t think this is the game to bash them. Vince Wilfork and Dont’a Hightower definitely had a bounce-back performance, and the addition of Akeem Ayers should help going forward.

Special Teams: A

Stephen Gostkowski drilled three field goals, Ryan Allen was only called upon to punt once, and Julian Edelman came up with a huge 42-yard punt return that really got things rolling for New England. Excellent overall performance for this group.