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Patriots vs. Jaguars: Fan Notes from the Game

Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots 51-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was fun.

I don't know about any of you, but I love games like yesterday's matchup between the Patriots and the Jaguars. While it wasn't the most exciting game in the world, it was extremely nice to have no stress, no worry, and no pacing around my living room for three hours straight while I sweat out the final outcome. This game was pretty much well in hand from the opening kickoff all the way through until the final whistle, and the Pats scored on every single possession that they had. These are the kind of wins that make me think that I'll actually live to see my 45th birthday.

But then again, it's still early.

  • Oh, Rich Gannon. How I haven't missed you in the slightest at all this past offseason. What a tool.
  • I defy any of you to name anything sweeter than a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon where the Patriots are at home for the 1 PM game and defer the kickoff to the 2nd half. Add a cold beer and some greasy food, and it doesn't get any better.
  • Add to that a disciplined defensive front and a quick three and out, and it's already time for another delicious, delicious beer.
  • New England presented a mixed offsensive front with skill players lined up everywhere from the backfield to out wide, and Brady operated primarily out of the shotgun in order to exploit a depleted Jaguars secondary that was simply overmatched with the plethora of Patriots weapons. There is just so much versatility to this offense at this early stage and I couldn't be happier about it.
  • So...we just aren't covering Gronk now at all? Was there a leaguewide memo? If so, I sure hope nobody misinterprets it; we don't want New England to lose any more draft picks.
  • On New England's first touchdown of the day, an 8 yard Dion Lewis run, Tommy B diagnosed the defense when the Mike linebacker shifted the inner pressure wide in anticipation of Gronk breaking off the line and running a possible seam or corner route. He called the alert and audibled Gronk in to block across the middle, giving Lewis the option as to where to make his initial cut. Lewis read the linebackers correctly and danced in for the easy score. What a great example of smart offense and everyone doing their job.
  • I wonder if there's a correlation between the number 33 and being a great NE running back. Folk magic? More like Faulk magic!
  • I'm sorry about that last note. I'm better than that. You deserve better than that.
  • Very little blitzing from New England early on. I figured they'd dial up more pressure against the young QB to try and throw him off his rhythm.
  • Of course, scaring him so bad that he bobbles the snap helps as well.
  • Jabaal Sheard may have had his best game as a pro yesterday - at least his best game as a Patriot. He was all over the line and got some great push at the snap to crash directly into the backfield and throw Bortles off his rhythm. In an offseason where everyone was talking about the big free agent moves, nobody really talked about Sheard and he may have been one of the best pickups across the league.
  • One knock on Dion Lewis at this early point in the 2015 season: he doesn't hit the hole with the authority and decisiveness that you like to see out of between the tackles backs. He's able to compensate with his elusiveness, but sometimes you need to just drive your legs forward and generate some yards.
  • Luckily for New England, they have Blount for that.
  • I have yet to see a single good OPI call this season across any team. That one on Gronk to short circuit New England's second drive was garbage.
  • By looks alone, I feel like you can divide NFL offensive linemen into two categories: guys you don't want to run into when you're walking alone late at night, and guys you just want to hug and pinch their cheeks. Every single Jaguars lineman falls soundly into the latter category.
  • Marshawn Lynch is quickly becoming my favorite player to see in a commercial. "Speech mode, boss."
  • I can't say for certain, but if I was to find out that Jamie Collins was allowed to roam free across the middle of the field as almost a free safety/linebacker, I wouldn't be remotely surprised. He was all over the field yesterday and right around the ball on every play. He's an instinctive player that seems to be getting better every week.
  • It took Jacksonville a few possessions to realize that throwing deep a lot probably wasn't the best idea, so they slowed it down, went for the high percentage plays, and ran the ball. The result? a 17 play, 58 yard drive that probably would have been an 80 yard TD drive had a few dumb penalties not forced a field goal instead.
  • Unfortunately for Jacksonville, that was pretty much their only good drive of the day.
  • Jordan Richards was able to break up a play by straight up catching a guy and carrying him out of bounds. That was awesome.
  • It actually took the morons in the booth significantly longer than I expected them to to bring up Walt Coleman and the Tuck Rule, especially considering that Gannon was the QB for the Raiders during that game.
  • Was the non-reversal on what looked to me to be a pretty clear incomplete pass a makeup call all these years later? Who the hell knows. Sure, why not.
  • Tommy B's mobility is a strong as it has ever been. He looks like women on the dance floor whenever they see me approaching; just the subtlest of moves, but extremely effective at avoiding getting hit on.
  • Still waiting for LeGarrette Blount to get a carry inside the five yard line in the first half. No need to get fancy all the time down there; let's just punch it in.
  • And up until this game, I was still waiting on Devin McCourty to come up with a huge grab. Atta boy, Devin. Huge play before the half.
  • Usually I'd fight the whole "graze the QB's face, it's a personal foul penalty" thing as absolutely bogus and stupid, but the NFL is consistent with it across the league, and when you have a face like Tommy B does, I don't want any big fat fingers going anywhere near it.
  • Massive congrats to Tommy on TD pass number 400, a playaction laser to Danny Amendola on a quick slant route where he was as open as my weekend calendar.   Only three other men have done what Brady has done: Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Dan Marino. That's some pretty mighty company.
  • And good work from the fans wasting no time in busting out the Brady chant after Tommy B hit the milestone. Milk every last second out of this man's tenure.
  • But what the hell is Amendola doing giving that pass to a random fan? That's a historic ball, Danny! Get with the program here.
  • New England, up 20-3, came out to open the 3rd quarter in an empty shotgun set and then Brady got right back to work throwing. Absolutely shredded the Jags depleted secondary like my sponge when I try to wash my cheese grater. He's accurate, he's patient, he's reading the defense well, he's confident in his young offensive line - he's playing the best football of his life.
  • Shaq Mason at fullback might be my favorite on-field visual of 2015. I thought I knew what the word "rumbling" meant, but after seeing Mason run I now have a whole new definition of the word.
  • Davon House may have finally found the blueprint for covering Gronk; just completely sacrifice your body and get crushed trying to break up the pass. The only real negative to that is that it's the kind of play that only works once.
  • Once New England went up 23-3, Jacksonville couldn't really rely on the run and the playaction wasn't as effective. Bortles isn't quite there yet in terms of putting the entire offense on his shoulders when down big.
  • That said...if I'm a Jaguars fan, there are some positives I can take away from this game. The Jags O-line had a good day, and Bortles took some decent shots down the field. They were just outmatched here.
  • Literally right after I wrote that nice not about the Jags... two big plays, two massive DPI calls to send Blount into the end zone. Oops.
  • Hey...if you aren't going to make the catch, draw the PI call. Aaron Dobson contributing any way that he can.
  • Still...hang onto that one, Aaron. Brady dropped that right into your breadbasket.
  • Blount's one yard TD capped off a 1 play, 67 yard drive. How's that for a weird stat?
  • Anybody else feel kind of bad for all those crabs tossed into the bin like that? Deliciously, deliciously bad...
  • One big plus that I'm taking away from yesterday's game is Jamie Collins in coverage. It still isn't his strong suit, but he wasn't a liability at all.
  • Granted, that may be more a testament to Jacksonville's lack of weapons than Collins making a turn as a coverage linebacker...but screw it, I'm feeling glass half full today.
  • Rich Gannon mentioning how the game clock is too high for his liking and how he prefers it closer to the ground so he doesn't have to look away from the field. Can't wait for the NFL to launch a massive investigation into GameclockGate.
  • It's games like yesterday where Blount really excels. Big lead, need to kill some clock, Tommy B has been sharp in the passing game all day.  Just let the big man get his legs churning.
  • Remember when Texans fans were ecstatic that they dumped Keyshawn Martin off on the Patriots? I guess Pats fans should be as well.
  • As great as Brady was on number 401, that was also a great adjustment from Martin and an understanding that his QB was in trouble. Very reminiscent of Deon Branch. Are the two the same guy? No. But has Martin played better in one game than the previous 82, Josh Boyce, has across multiple seasons? Yup.
  • Another 400+ day yesterday: congrats to Ghost for setting an NFL record for most consecutive extra points made with 425. The man has a HUGE pair of kicking shoes to fill when he came in, and he has been admirable to say the least.
  • Good for the Jags going for a fake punt! I used to do that when I was getting blown out in Madden-  because hey: why not?
  • Matthew Slater is so underrated it's not even funny. Special teams guys never get any credit unless they're kickers, but what Slater does for this team, week in and week out, is really something special.
  • And I mean actually special; not the kind of special my mother and teachers called me.
  • This game was over well before Blount punched in his 2nd TD of the day. But Jax more or less mailed it in at the point and it was just a matter of running the ball/throwing a few high percentage passes on both sides to end it. Nothing too crazy from either side. You can go ahead and be mad at the Pats for running up the score late, but I think that Blount's 2nd TD, which came on the heels of a failed fake punt, was the New England equivalent of rubbing a puppy's nose in the mess it just left on the carpet. Not mad, we understand, but you'd be wise to not try any of that crap there again.
  • Also...I've always been a HUGE proponent of showing a team the respect of giving them 100% from whistle to whistle. I would much, much rather lose 5,000 to nothing and have the starters out there giving me everything they had for the entire game than be losing big and then the scrubs come in and show us pity by playing small ball for the rest of the game. The latter is just emasculating and embarrassing; we're not even good enough to be worthy of your best for the whole time. Give me your all and the blowout 100 times out of 100.
  • The Clean Jersey of the Week award goes to punter Ryan Allen, who didn't see the field at all yesterday. But a close second is Tommy B; another great job from the young offensive line.

I know it's only Jacksonville, but that's a great way to head into this early bye week.The Patriots are absolutely on fire right now, and now have a week off to get healthier, make some adjustments, and prepare for a long stretch of games leading through December. Make no mistake; the league is officially on notice.