Fan Notes from the Game

Content Warning: The following article contains adult themes and or references that some could find inappropriate or offensive. If you think this material may be offensive to you, do not follow the jump.  The views expressed in this article do not represent Pats Pulpit or SB Nation as a whole, but that of the contributing writer.

 

I’m not gonna lie. I kinda dropped the ball on my initial plan of taking notes during the game.

There was a little too much going on at the New England Patriots' home opener yesterday, and since I'm pretty easily distracted, I wasn't able to jot down my thoughts as the Pats rolled to a 35-21 win over the San Diego Chargers. Plus, I had a lot of responsibilities yesterday. The onus was on me to stay hydrated, lead my section in rowdiness, and be as obnoxious as possible to the three Chargers fans sitting in front of me. You'll all be happy to know that I was able to balance all three duties masterfully - unfortunately, taking notes fell by the wayside.So, the observations you are getting today are more retroactive than in-the-moment. Plus, there are just certain things that you miss when you don’t have the benefit of 15 different camera angles and various announcers breaking down the plays. So, what follows is little more than my own attempts to recount what I thought of in between bouts of (futilely) trying to instigate The Gronk Cheer and making sure everyone in my section was as loud as humanly possible on every single Chargers 3rd down.

Notes after the jump.

 

 

 

  • To anyone who is thinking about buying a ticket to a Pats game this year: I'd strongly advise sitting in the nosebleeds. It’s where some really good people sit and there are a lot of friendships to be made. To everyone in section 333 – you are all awesome.
  • "Stay hydrated" may now be the official fan-to-fan greeting at Gillette Stadium, courtesy of the Patriots PR staff.
  • Gillette Stadium would do well to install another dozen Men’s restrooms.

  • The Gronk Train Conductor didn’t catch on as quickly as I’d hoped. But that’s OK – there’s plenty of time to hammer it home.

  • Ho hum. Just another 400 yard passing day for Tommy B. Yawn.
  • Tom Brady's ability to sell the playaction never ceases to amaze me.

  • Slowly working Chad Ochocinco into the offense – it’s only going to get better from here.

  • At no point during this game was I worried about the Chargers coming back to win. New England controlled this game from their first possession and never looked back.

  • I don’t think that there is a secondary in this league that can stop our tight ends.

  • It’s amazing how little the prospect of spending 9 dollars for a  beer inhibits you from staying hydrated once you're actually at the game.

  • One thing that nobody is going to hear anything about this season is how effective Rob Gronkowski is as a blocker. On almost every big play during that game, Gronk threw a key block.

  •  Jerod Mayo is a beast. Very happy to see him unleashed this week.

  • If  I was a Mike linebacker and my blitzing scheme was blown up by all 5’6", 180 lbs of Danny Woodhead, I’d probably cry myself to sleep after the game. That little guy can block.

  • There was a much better balance of run and pass this game. New England was still pass heavy, obviously, but every running play was meaningful.
  • Speaking of running plays - I'd put Deion Branch behind only Hines Ward as the best blocking receiver in the NFL. Having an effective blocking receiver is a highly underrated weapon.
  • Getting the crowd riled up on San Diego’s 3rdDowns still took a lot more effort than it should have. This fan base needs to wake up.

  • The no-huddle offense continues to be effective. Once Brady gets a matchup he likes, he keeps that defense on the field and makes it look more foolish than me at my 8th grade mixer trying to get a girl to dance with me.

  • Devin McCourty is going to get some flak this week for allowing two touchdowns to Vincent Jackson. I think he played Jackson very well – on that first touchdown, Rivers had a lot of time in the pocket, and you can’t be expected cover a receiver of Vincent Jackson’s caliber for that long. The 2nd TD was a perfectly placed pass that Jackson caught with one hand, and McCourty was actually playing fairly solid coverage. I think he's doing fine. His first two assignments of the year were Jackson and Brandon Marshall. You can’t expect any corner not named Darrelle Revis to shut receivers like that down completely.
  • New England did a phenomenal job taking tight end Antonio Gates out of this game.
  • In spite of another 350 yards given up through the air, I think our secondary played very well. Philip Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and when he has time to throw he's going to put up numbers. Which brings me to...
  • Another game with a less than stellar pass rush. This defense can’t give up 350+ yards passing every week and expect to come out on top. They need to find a way to pressure opposing quarterbacks and they need to figure it out now.
  • There were a surprisingly large number of Chargers fans at the game, and every single one of them had on either a Philip Rivers or a LaDainian Tomlinson jersey. News Flash, Diego:  LT is now a New York Jet and there are 52 other players on the team. Get some new shirts.
  • One of my proudest moments ever as a Pats fan was being part of the 68,000 plus that went absolutely nuts when Drew Bledsoe was inducted in the New England Patriots Hall of Fame. It’s impossible to overstate what Bledsoe did for this franchise and the reception he received upon his induction was just a small fraction of the gratitude he deserves for what he gave to this team and to New England as a whole. Drew, you’re a class act all the way and my life is better because of the time you spent under center for the New England Patriots. From the bottom of my heart: Thank You.

  • The run defense was solid overall - but we seem to struggle a bit with the smaller, shiftier backs.
  • 80% of my time at work today is going to be spent watching the Vince Wilfork pick. "Fat Man Running With Football" has just been added to "Unsuspecting Fan Hit in Face With Football" and "Man Hit in Groin With Football" on my list of favorite football-related comedy videos.
  • Honorable mention on that list: the original Charlie Brown extra point yank.
  • Do you think any offense in the NFL runs drills in practice where they have to stop a 6'2", 330 pound defensive lineman barreling down the sideline with the football? I think the smart play in that situation is to just run to a corner and hide.
  • This game marks two straight weeks where new England needed a late score to ice the game and they delivered beautifully. Closing out games was somewhat of a problem last year and the Pats squeaked out a few wins in 2010. I hope to see this trend continue.

Overall, another very convincing win. Time to make sure that the 48 injuries we suffered yesterday get taken care of, and then turn the page to prepare for that offensive juggernaut, the Buffalo Bills. I can't believe that New England is traveling to Buffalo on Sunday and I'm pretty damn nervous about it.

 

 

 

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