Here are our instant observations and takeaways from the Patriots 35-17 win over the Bengals.
QB Tom Brady is clearly the best quarterback in the NFL
Brady’s performance against the Browns was no fluke as he followed up a 28/40 (70%), 406 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interception performance (127.7 rating) against Cleveland with an even better 29/35 (83%) for 376 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interception day (140.0 rating) against Cincinnati.
TE Rob Gronkowski is SICK
Flu, or no, Gronkowski is the best tight end in the NFL. After collecting 5 catches for 109 yards against the Browns, Gronk picked up 7 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown- a career high in yardage for the future Hall of Famer. In just two games, Gronk is now second to just TE Martellus Bennett in receiving yards.
Where is WR Julian Edelman?
In two games with Brady, Edelman has 9 catches for 65 yards on 17 targets. That used to be a single outing for Edelman. It seems like his foot isn’t fully healthy as his cuts aren’t as ankle-breaking as they used to be.
The offensive line had a rough day
The Bengals picked up 3 sacks, 3 quarterback hits, and 3 tackles for loss, and the rushing game averaged a mere 3.4 yards per play. The Bengals have a great defensive line, but this was a step back for a unit that looked to be trending upwards.
LB Dont’a Hightower is a total freak
While some attention was given to rookie LB Elandon Roberts (team-leading 6 solo tackles), Hightower led the team with 13 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss, and a forced safety. What more can you ask of him?
The defense bent, but didn’t break
The Bengals picked up 99 yards on their second drive of the game (net 89, but they had a 10 yard penalty), but the Patriots defense forced a turnover on downs by the goal line. The New England offense didn’t allow the defense a break in the first half, but the defense stepped up in the second half as Hightower’s safety shifted the tide of the game.
Weekly K Stephen Gostkowski update:
Gostkowski made 46- and 31-yard field goals and added two extra points, but he pushed a third extra point wide left. Let’s not panic this week.