The New England Patriots have lost three straight games, and this week they have nothing to blame their performance on. In Week 4 their starting quarterback was out. Weeks 5 and 6 were filled with practice cancellations and a game postponement. In Week 7, they straight up sucked.
The quarterback play was unlike anything Patriots fans born after 1992 have seen. The play-calling was mind-boggling at points. Kyle Shanahan did what he does best and exploited the defense’s weaknesses to an almost cruel degree.
It’s going to be hard but we’ve tasked ourselves with finding the positives and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Just don’t expect to see the name Cam Newton anywhere past this point in the blog.
So, what went right in the Patriots 33-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers?
Weekly John Simon propaganda
I get long winded talking about John Simon. pic.twitter.com/VISuCAoTHp— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 26, 2020
One of the reasons you never hear about John Simon is because he never makes the wrong play. Sure he’ll get blocked out of a gap or stonewalled in pass rush every once in a while, but he’s always doing his job. This is a good example of him doing his job and doing it extremely well. Being able to get around a hinge block and still stay on his path crashing down the line is something special. His ability to process responsibilities on every play is second to none.
Ja’Whaun Bentley with a couple of assists
Here are a series of plays that Ja’Whaun Bentley made to help out his teammates. First was Nick Thurmans TFL. pic.twitter.com/EROytFNMJc— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 26, 2020
Then Lawrence Guy’s (untouched) sack on Jimmy G. pic.twitter.com/6tc3hJFIAL— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 26, 2020
Ja’Whaun Bentley is the perfect guy to take over Elandon Roberts’ old role, unfortunately he’s been forced into that of Dont’a Hightower. Despite being set up for failure (he’s a good player but is being forced to play to his weaknesses) he’s stayed true to what he does best and has been a force in the run game and as a situational pass rusher. The man is a tank coming down hill.
Damien Harris getting better by the play
Damien Harris and Ivan Fears must have had a nice talk after the Patriots first play of the game. pic.twitter.com/oGDa2Y20MC— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 26, 2020
Harris came back out in the second half and made some adjustments that led to some smarter running. pic.twitter.com/GrZIOVkKvB— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 26, 2020
At the risk of sounding negative, this is an example of the difference between Damien Harris and Sony Michel as runners. The Patriots ran a delayed draw on the first play of the game, Harris cut inside and was tackled for a 5-yard gain. On their second drive of the second half, they ran the same play. Harris let the blocks get set up, found a seam and hit it at full speed, finishing off his run for a 12-yard gain. He’s becoming a better, smarter runner by the play. He should be the feature guy moving forward.
WR Jakobi Meyers
Jakobi Meyers has gotten the short end of the stick consistently all season. He dealt with a shoulder injury in camp that set him behind. He made the roster but has been stuck behind N’Keal Harry (former first-round draft pick), Julian Edelman (second most receptions in team history), and Damiere Byrd (best receiver on the team through seven weeks).
So when N’Keal Harry went down in the first quarter on Sunday, Meyers was able to see some serious reps on the field for the first time all season and he did not disappoint.
He started his day with a couple of really good routes back-to-back. After the first catch was wiped away by a Joe Thuney holding call, they went right back to him to pick up the first down.
Ran back-to-back deep crossers late in the second quarter. Verrett was bailing but Meyers got to the right depth and his routes were crisp. pic.twitter.com/LPThlHndpt— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 26, 2020
They went back to him on the next possession, this time in the slot, and he gave them the same result.
Coming in off the bench and having patience like this is impressive. pic.twitter.com/vJseu8ZICP— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) October 26, 2020
His consistency was a breath of fresh air at the wide receiver position. Most Patriot fans came away from Sunday thinking he should be playing more, and the head coach agrees.
Could Jakobi Meyers' production afford him more playing time?— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) October 26, 2020
Bill Belichick: "Of course. Good production is always relative to more playing time."
We will see if that comes to fruition.
We will be back next week with more unsung heroes, sorry for the short blog this week, unfortunately the Patriots forced my hand as I am no miracle worker. Let me know who you thought played well on Twitter @KeaganStiefel or in the comments!