After quite a performance on Sunday, the Patriots are 7-3 and in the drivers seat in the AFC East. Let’s take a look at some of the Positives and Negatives from Week 11 action.
- The front seven cause a lot of commotion up front. Brandon Spikes looked like he was getting an excellent jump on the snap count every other play. He has definitely earned my respect as a smarter player than I gave him credit for. Excellent presence from Vince Wilfork and yet another strip sack from Ninkovich led to seven points on the very next play.
- The secondary finally chipped in during a game. Three interceptions by guys who weren’t on the team last season (Talib, Wilson, and Dennard), two of which were run back for scores. The defense has definitely established its identity as an opportunistic, takeaway-driven squad. Talib looked solid in his first start with the team; he held Reggie Wayne under 100 yards, which is definitely a plus, while also leading the team in tackles. He gave up a touchdown to T.Y. Hilton, though he was there, just had bad position (and Hilton made a fantastic catch).
- Julian Edelman busted out in a big way with 5 catches for 58 yards and a score. He led the team in rushing on one attempt for 47 yards in which he almost took an end around to the house before tripping over backup TE Hoomanawanui. He also added a huge momentum changing punt return touchdown. He valiantly took over the gadget role that Aaron Hernandez is so well known for and produced big time.
- Tom Brady was vintage as he topped 300 yards with three scores on the day.
- The offensive line remains solid. Freeney and Mathis may not have even bothered to take the field because Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer were up to the task. Brady had plenty of time all day, and it showed: zero QB hits.
- Good thing the Patriots had five tight ends on the roster, because Gronkowski is out for the next month plus. After breaking his forearm on the team’s final PAT, he will go under the knife today for surgery. There could be a silver lining to this however, as Gronk had been nursing a hip injury all season. The extra rest could have him healthy for the playoffs, and that will be extremely necessary.
- Though the defense played well enough, they still gave up another first possession touchdown. Bill Belichick may want to rethink always giving the ball to the other team at the start of the game because this defense has caused the Patriots to play from behind right away during too many games this season. That won’t fly against a good squad.
- Kyle Arrington needs to be benched. Defensive pass interference, defensive holding, and poor coverage on the day led to one of his worse performances of the season. That seven interception season from a year ago seems so far away.
Next up, the Patriots will head to New York to face the Jets on Thanksgiving night. This game could go a long way towards securing the AFC East title.
Statistics courtesy of NFL.com
Tags: Aqib Talib, Julian Edelman, Patriots, Tom Brady