|Notes and Observations, Week 2: Defense Shines as Patriots Defeat Vikings 30-7||Connelly Top Ten: Patriots Average Team – 10-6||Analyzing the Patriots Strong Safety Rotation||College Football Week 3 Roundup: BC Upsets USC, UMass Loses Heartbreaker|
The bye week let New England fans soak in everything. After eight weeks, New England has outplayed its division rivals to a 5-2 record. Some hard fought wins and heart breaking losses have made this season exciting. Now, before the Patriots welcome the Dolphins to Foxboro, it seems like a perfect time to take a look at how the Patriots offense has re-emerged and improved as the season progressed.
This season was about one thing, and one thing only: The Return of Tom Brady. After a few weeks, we finally received out answer. A strong performance week 1 against the Bills was over shadowed by Buffalo’s costly fumbles. During week 2′s matchup against the Jets, Brady struggled and was touchdown-less. Sicne then, he has been getting better and better He is fifth in the league in passing yards (2,032) and tied for third in touchdowns (15). His highlight was completely tearing Tennessee apart with six touchdowns, five in the second quarter. He is .1 percentage points from a 100 passer rating on the season. He is also not the only quarterback getting it done. Back up Brian Hoyer has an 81 percent completion rate and a rushing touchdown to boot. Grade: A+
With the passing game chugging along, the running game has been struggling. Up until his injury in week 4, Fred Taylor was the teams leading rusher with 201 yards. In his absence, Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney did their best to fill in. When Morris went down in the Titans game, Maroney stepped in. He rushed for 123 yards and his first touchdown of the season. That game also saw BenJarvus Green-Ellis rush for 67 yards of his own. The team in 15th in total rushing yards this season and 14th in average per run, not impressive but not horrendous. The Patriots running game in nothing stellar, but is good enough to keep the chains moving and take a little pressure off the passing game. Grade: C+
When thinking of the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL, the dynamic duo of Randy Moss and Wes Welker has to be at the top. They have combined for 1,049 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Both are in the top 20 for receiving yards and have made plenty of fantasy owners happy. So has Ben Watson, who is third on the team in receiving with 222 yards and has four touchdowns of his own. Julian Edelman, Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris and Sam Aiken are all over 100 yards receiving on the season and have been dangerous weapons for Tom Brady. It took a while to get going, but the passing game is in full swing and getting better every week. Grade: B+ (They would have gotten an A if it wasn’t for the failed Joey Galloway experiment).
Tom Brady is at the top of many lists for quarterbacks, but thanks to his offensive line, is at the bottom of another. Tom is tied for 28th in times sacked with eight. The O-Line may not create many holes for the running backs, but when giving Brady time to throw the ball they are one of the best units in the league. Nick Kazcur, Dan Koppen, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, and Stephen Neal have done everything in their power to make sure the offense keeps moving and they have done it successfully. Grade: A
There is no doubt that Patriots possess one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. The have the talent to match up with the leagues best. Tom Brady seems to finally be back to his 2007 MVP form and Randy Moss and Wes Welker seem to be the ones to benefit most. However, if the team can’t get the running game going they will be one dimensional, and playoff teams know how to handle that. Expect big things from the Patriots down the stretch and more big plays through the air.
Tags: Ben Watson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Dan Koppen, Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk, Laurence Maroney, Logan Mankins, Matt Light, Nick Kazur, Patriots, Randy Moss, Sammy Morris, Stephen Neal, Tom Brady, Wes Welker