While the final score showed a total blowout against the Dallas Cowboys, most fans of the New England Patriots were watching the first half of the game and were wondering why there were so many issues moving the ball.
Patriots' offensive line is melting like ice cream in the sun.— zach_law (@zach_law) October 11, 2015
Hurt pride "@MikeReiss: Starting left tackle Nate Solder takes himself off the field with an apparent injury."— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) October 11, 2015
The offensive line was pretty much a disaster, with much of the focus directed towards the offensive tackles that couldn't stop Greg Hardy or Jeremy Mincey or an underhand softball. While the interior wasn't as bad upon a second viewing, the Cowboys definitely challenged the interior communication with delayed blitzes and pressure.
But tackles Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, and Marcus Cannon had a day they would like to forget. Solder was destroyed on multiple occasions, Vollmer was walked back into Tom Brady, and Cannon allowed a strip sack on one of his first plays. Oh, and the Cowboys featured a lot of three man rushes, so they felt confident they could create pressure with these isolated match-ups.
Hopefully the Patriots can see what these tackles did incorrectly so they can fix the problems moving forward, because the offensive line put together the worst half of football by any Patriots unit this season (although the defensive line against the Steelers would like to challenge for the title).
Brandon Bolden about to put everyone on tilt.— Alessandro Miglio (@AlexMiglio) October 11, 2015
We don’t talk enough about how Belichick won four rings despite devoting so much of his time and energy to screwing over fantasy owners.— Jason B. Hirschhorn (@by_JBH) October 11, 2015
But finally, the offense figured out how to move the ball down the field to reach the goal line. With short passes to Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis, the Patriots marched down the field before a 13-yard scamper by Lewis left New England with a 1st and goal on the 1-yard line.
If you are Josh McDaniels, what play will you run?
a) Four tight end set (I guess three, plus Shaq Mason), with roughly thirty different possible passing combinations?
2) Give LeGarrette Blount an unfathomable short yardage dive play?
III) Maybe throw it to Dion Lewis in the flat and see if he can make thirteen players miss a tackle.
D) James White will really catch the defense off guard.
LETS GO!!!!! pic.twitter.com/tEWYpDghIz— David Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) October 11, 2015
Or Tom Brady can take it himself and fire up the team. This score helped the Patriots take a 10-3 lead, but the way Brady reacted meant that the game was over. If Brady goes bananas at any point during the game, it means that New England has won. It doesn't matter if he does it in the pregame warm-up, during the first quarter, or in the fourth down three scores.
This is his trump card.
Belichick had two weeks to prepare for Brandon Weeden.— Kevin Clark (@KevinClarkWSJ) October 11, 2015
This point can't be overstated.
Chandler dropping into coverage like a boss pic.twitter.com/fETEpWLZvJ— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) October 11, 2015
Chandler Jones' teammates are gonna have a blast with that one tomorrow in the film review.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 11, 2015
When you give Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare for a quarterback of Weeden's caliber, you're going to see a potential interception thrown at a 4-3 defensive end that decides to drop ten yards into coverage. This is a wrinkle that the Patriots use to beat quarterbacks like Weeden, or Matt Cassel, or Andrew Luck every single time.
Remember when Dion Lewis was with the Colts for seven days last year? Good times.— Stampede Blue (@StampedeBlue) October 11, 2015
There isn't even a video game move for what Dion Lewis just did.— Greg Knopping (@patspulpit) October 11, 2015
Please take to the comments to come up with nicknames for Dion Lewis. I want "The Matrix" but that's already taken. "Jukebox" is a popular one. He needs one, ASAP.
Cowboys best offense today has been iffy penalties on 3rd down to keep drives alive.— Mike Loyko (@NEPD_Loyko) October 11, 2015
Cowboys, trailing 20-3 against the best offense in the AFC, just kicked a 23-yard field goal at the end of a 47-minute drive.— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) October 11, 2015
Eldest watched Pats-Dallas with me. Had intended to watch SNF with me but told me 'I've seen enough sad football today'— Andrew Garda (@Andrew_Garda) October 12, 2015
The Patriots have commit four penalties on 3rd or 4th down that resulted in a free set of downs for their opponent, including twice against the Cowboys. That's pretty bad. But at least they're not the Dolphins!
Miami leads the league with six penalties for free first downs, including three by cornerback Jamar Taylor, and one on a punt against Buffalo.
New England is tied for lowest in the league with regards to benefiting from these calls, but it has nothing to do with the franchise, because so are the Dolphins. Sorry, Miami.
They forget a zero? https://t.co/15UB4UXlbv— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 12, 2015
We're on to Indy!