Philippe Moreau

Aqib Talib Clinches Ugly Victory For Patriots

Created on Sept. 13, 2013 8:05 AM EST

It started well for the New England Patriots in their home opener against the New York Jets, as rookie Aaron Dobson caught a 39-yard touchdown from Brady with just 2:06 into the game. Unfortunately for everyone watching the first Thursday night game of the season, it was one the few highlights of what happened to be a dull game. Both offenses had trouble gaining momentum, and even though it might be easy to say that it was due to good defensive play, it would be more honest to say that it was due to poor offensive play. The Jets outgained the Patriots offensively and were in it until the end. Aqib Talib eventually put a stop to the visiting team’s hopes and clinched New England’s second victory of the season with his second interception of the game.

With Danny Amendola and Gronkowski out of the lineup, the Patriots offense struggled mightily, as Brady only passed for 185 yards and completed only 48.7 percent of his passes. The offense also converted only four third downs on nineteen attempts. Saying that the Patriots’ offense is not the same would be an understatement, as the Pats’ were first in third down conversions last year with a 48.43 percent success rate.

Fortunately for the home team, the Jets’ offense didn’t do too well also, as Geno Smith threw three picks and converted only six out of eighteen third downs. The Jets scored their first and only touchdown of the game with 5:05 left in the third quarter, capping a solid offensive drive conducted by Geno Smith. Vladimir Ducasse, who played a good game, notably blocked Vince Wilfork perfectly on the score. 

The Patriots’ crowd was not very satisfied with their team performance, and it was not alone, as Tom Brady was also upset after some of his receivers made mistakes. Aaron Dobson, despite his touchdown at the beginning of the game, had multiple drops and was often at the wrong place at the wrong time. He has time to develop, but it is safe to say that Brady is thinking about giving Wes Welker a call so he can come back to Foxborough. The absence of Welker can be seen, as you can feel that Brady doesn’t have that go-to guy when things don’t go as well as planned. Sometimes, all an offense needs to gain momentum is some third down conversions and a sure set of hands.

Even though Edelman had a strong showing, catching thirteen passes for 78 yards, it doesn’t look like he could continue on this pace for the whole season. Edelman might have the same style as Welker, but he surely doesn’t have his talent as of right now. The small wide receiver out of Kent State only caught 21 passes last year. In just this game he caught almost two third of his last year’s total. You can say that is an indicator on how players like Welker, Hernandez and Gronkowski were a big part of the past season’s offenses for the New England Patriots. The Pats still have the quarterback, but they might realize the importance of chemistry in the passing game. The trio of ‟Gronk”, Hernandez and Welker combined for 224 receptions last year, and all those catches don’t get easily replaced. Tom Brady will probably spend more time in the film room next week, and chances are his receivers will be with him. 

The New England offense still relies on the passing game. Based on their performance against the Jets, it doesn’t look like Stevan Ridley and LeGarette Blount can take the New England offense on their back. Ridley rushed for forty yards in sixteen attempts and Blount for eleven yards in four carries. 

The Patriots’ pass rush improved from last game, sacking rookie Geno Smith four times. Linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich also played a solid game. The defense is solid, but it might have looked better than it really is, as it played against rookie quarterbacks in the past two games.

The Patriots will have to pick up the pace on offense if they want to be considered in the same class as the AFC’s elite teams. It doesn’t look like they could match the other good teams in the American Conference points for points. 

Brady and Belichick have mentioned in the past that the real season starts after Thanksgiving, but they probably want to find the way to generate some offense before that. The Patriots’ defense cannot lead them to a championship, and the key of this offense is the chemistry between Brady and his new receivers. The quarterback can throw the best passes in the world, but they don’t mean nothing if there is nobody to catch them. Pats’ fans might have taken that part for granted in the past seasons, but now the awakening is brutal.

The Patriots will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 22. Tom Brady will have to deal with Darrelle Revis once more, and it won’t be easier to complete passes against a secondary that lines up Revis and Dashon Goldson. 

Unless Brady and his receivers develop some chemistry.

Which would not be that surprising, given the track record of the Patriots’ quarterback. 

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