Obviously, the defense needs to be better. The issue is that the Seahawks have a ton of speed and an elite quarterback. New England played a lot of man coverage, which they like to do, but they got burned by a few deep throws, where the coverage was good, but the throw and catch were simply better. Russell Wilson is amazing. He might be the most underrated player in the NFL, because he is, in my opinion, the second best QB in the league behind Patrick Mahomes, and he’s not that far behind Mahomes either. So, the defense had an incredibly tough matchup, and they definitely struggled.
The offense, however, carried the defense.
The biggest question I had going into the game was: Would the Patriots be able to move the ball without an effective rushing attack? The performance that Cam Newton put on in Seattle went a long way to answering that question. He had the rough interception trying to get the ball to Damiere Byrd, but was slinging it all over the field while moving around in the pocket, shaking off rushers, and making accurate strikes down the field.
Newton’s rapport with Julian Edelman is obvious, and he’s really working hard with N’Keal Harry to help make him the best player he can be. For one night, at least, the Patriots’ passing offense kept pace with one of the most explosive attacks in the league, and that is a great sign moving forward. We’re only two games into the Cam Newton era, and things are looking good right now despite the 1-1 record.
I will admit that I was skeptical that he could be the same guy he was during his heyday in Carolina, but he has shown that he’s definitely capable of it.
As far as the final play of the game. It is going to be (over-)analyzed a million times, but I didn’t mind the call. I know it’s unorthodox, but it had been working for the Patriots before. Jakob Johnson and rookie Michael Onwenu both missed their blocks, unfortunately, which is what stopped Cam Newton from scoring. At the same time, throwing the ball there wouldn’t have been the right call either. They have had success with Newton on the goal line, why wouldn’t they continue doing it?
I seem to remember a Patriots-Seahawks matchup where a throw on the goal line was and still is constantly mocked. Now we are saying New England should throw instead of run from 1-yard line, when the offense has had a ton of success running near the goal line? I don’t think so.
There is a ton of football left to play, and there is no guarantee that Newton can hold up with the massive amount of times he has had the ball not just as a passer but a runner as well, but this team took a big step forward on Sunday night. Even in a losing effort, it proved that it can still play with the elite teams in this league, even on the road. That is a great sign moving forward, and something Patriots fans should all be happy about.
Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats