New England Patriots Game Grades: High Marks For Everybody


Here are this week’s New England Patriots game grades:

Passing Offense: B+

The game-plan against the Colts didn’t involve a heavy passing attack, but even with the focus on the ground game, Tom Brady and company lit up Indy through the air. Julian Edelman was open all night long, reeling in 9 catches (on 11 targets) for 98 yards. Rob Gronkowski was limited to only three catches, but one of them went for a touchdown, showing once again why he is the biggest mismatch in the NFL. Brady was great as usual, completing nearly 66% of his passes, and tossing three touchdowns.

However to me, the most impressive aspect of the aerial attack was the offensive line, and how they held up without Bryan Stork in the middle. Obviously the Colts’ front four isn’t the best, but Brady had all day to throw whenever he dropped back, even with Josh Kline starting at right guard. Stork should be good to go for the Super Bowl, and the offensive line will need another good performance to win that game.

Rushing Offense: A+

Absolutely nothing negative to say here. LeGarrette Blount was punishing with his physical running style, gaining 148 yards, and three touchdowns. The offensive line won the point of attack consistently, which allowed Blount to find holes, and pick up good yardage. I don’t think the Pats will be able to run like this against Seattle, but having a physical back like Blount will really help against that defense. Tom Brady even chipped in with a slick nine yard scamper in the red zone.

Pass Defense: A+

Again, I can’t find a single bad thing to say about the performance of New England’s pass defense in this game. Yes, they technically did not register a sack, but Rob Ninkovich was all over Luck from the start, and Jamie Collins provided nice pressure up the gut when needed. Of course it didn’t really matter, because Darrelle Revis and the secondary had one of their best outings of the season.

Coby Fleener, Reggie Wayne, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen, Hakeem Nick, and most importantly, T.Y. Hilton were all erased from the field of play, as one of the best secondaries in the NFL really flexed their muscles on Sunday night. Kyle Arrington was particularly impressive, as he had Hilton 1-on-1 (with some safety help) all game long, and completely shut him down. Even the one catch Hilton made, Arrington’s coverage was about as good as it gets.

Run Defense: A-

The Colts averaged a decent 4.4 yards per carry in this one, but when you go back and re-watch the game, it’s obvious the Pats were willing to let Indy try to beat them on the ground, especially late in the game. When it mattered, Vince Wilfork and the big boys up front dominated the line of scrimmage, and Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower were excellent in fighting off blocks, and making key tackles. Stopping Marshawn Lynch is going to be priority number one for the Pats in two weeks, so their front seven better be ready to go.

Special Teams: A

A Josh Cribbs fumble early got the Pats their first touchdown of the game, and Julian Edelman had a nice return a bit later to set New England up in excellent field position. Brandon Bolden‘s block was also one of the highlights of the postseason.