Here is what we learned from the New England Patriots 31-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
QB Tom Brady is human
After scorching the league over the first four games of the season, Brady was 23/32 (72%) for 316 yards, no touchdown passes, and an interception. This was his weakest game of the season, despite making some amazing plays down the field. He looked jittery at times and often overlooked easier targets in favor of attempting a play down the field.
It felt like Brady was trying to put the offense on his shoulders, even though he shouldn’t have to with the talent around him. Brady and the other quarterbacks did manage to set the NFL record for most passes to start a season without an interception.
RB LeGarrette Blount is climbing the history charts
Blount recorded 69 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 attempts and is now up to 12 rushing touchdowns on the season. He is tied for 5th place in franchise history for single season rushing touchdowns. RB Curtis Martin scored 14 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons in 1995-96, while 2006 RB Corey Dillon and 2010 RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored 13. Look for Blount to set the franchise mark with almost half a season left.
WR Julian Edelman had his best game of the season
Other than fumbling away fantastic field position, Edelman collected 7 receptions for 99 yards. Most importantly, he looked fluid and quick in the open field and he made plays down the field. Edelman hasn’t looked great in recent weeks due to his offseason foot surgery, but this could be the time he turned the corner to become a bigger contributor moving forward.
The tight end duo was fantastic
For much of the first half, TE Martellus Bennett (7 receptions, 102 yards) and TE Rob Gronkowski (3 receptions, 56 yards) were the only offense the team could muster. They finally got Edelman going in the second half, but Bennett and Gronkowski showed how dangerous they can be when both are on the field and contributing.
ED Jabaal Sheard was benched for ED Trey Flowers
The coaching staff decided to make some changes on the defensive line as Flowers and ED Rob Ninkovich earned the starts over Sheard and ED Long. Long was the third defensive end in the rotation and Sheard hardly saw the field at all. We’re not sure if this was to send a message to Sheard, but the run defense was awful on the edges and it’s probably connected to these changes. Flowers did pick up 2 sacks.
Every cornerback not named Malcolm Butler was atrocious
Butler was fantastic. He let up a touchdown to WR Doug Baldwin that was almost impossible to defend, but he was active against the run with 9 tackles on the day. Every other cornerback was brutal. CB Justin Coleman picked up penalty after penalty and couldn’t stop Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett. CB Logan Ryan blew a lot of coverages. CB Cyrus Jones fumbled on a kick return (again). Poor showing all around.
The coaching staff did a curiously bad job of adjusting
The Patriots defense only stopped the Seahawks twice all day. The bent a lot and allowed the Seahawks into the red zone on 7 different drives. The Patriots were lucky they only allowed 3 touchdowns.
But HC Bill Belichick and DC Matt Patricia didn’t seem to make any adjustments. They continued to play weird zone schemes that Wilson had no problem picking apart and then they set up players to lose in man schemes. Seahawks RB C.J. Prosise is a former wide receiver and he should win every single match-up against a linebacker. Why not use S Patrick Chung?
OC Josh McDaniels was better, but there’s no excuse for not scoring on that final drive. It was mostly player execution that sank the offense, with an ugly Brady interception, a bad Edelman fumble, and then multiple penalties and a sack to knock a team back after getting in scoring territory. Still- there are higher percentage plays than the fade.