Six weeks into the regular season, the New England Patriots offense can be described as below average. The unit is ranked 24th in scoring, 26th in yards, and 30th in turnovers. It has yet to score 30 points in a single game and has had its fair share of issues moving the ball through the air or on the ground.
And yet, the unit has repeatedly found itself in a position to possibly secure a win. While it did do that in Week 5 versus the Houston Texans, it failed to do the same on three separate occasions: it fumbled the opening game against Miami away deep in the fourth quarter; it put kicker Nick Folk in a difficult spot on the potential game-winner against Tampa; it was unable to take advantage of receiving the kickoff in overtime against Dallas.
All three games were lost in part because the Patriots offense simply did not make enough plays when it had to. The unit itself is very much aware of that as wide receiver Kendrick Bourne noted during a press conference on Wednesday.
“We have little mistakes here and there,” he said while talking specifically about last Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys. “We could have done a lot of things better after watching the tape. Just can’t have little mistakes; can’t have a guy beating us off the edge; can’t have me getting jammed up or somebody missing an assignment. Whatever it may be we just can’t do that at crucial times.”
The Patriots were in prime position to come away with an upset win against Dallas. However, the unit kept making life hard on itself — whether it was a late pick-six that went through Bourne’s hands, some missed third down plays, or a drop by Nelson Agholor in overtime.
The defense obviously has to shoulder some blame as well, but at the end of the day the New England offense was also unable to take advantage of the opportunities it had in the 35-29 loss. It was not the first time that such a thing happened, as noted above, which is why the team finds itself with a 2-4 record heading into the upcoming game versus the New York Jets.
“We’re doing the wrong things at crucial times,” Bourne said. “Not saying it’s something crazy, but it effects the result of the play. ... We have to execute better. That’s what I would say is the main thing.”
Six games into his Patriots career, Bourne is serving as a top-three option at the wide receiver position alongside Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor. Playing 57 percent of offensive snaps, he has caught 18 passes for 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
While his statistical contributions may be limited compared to other wideouts in the NFL, Bourne has filled a valuable role for the Patriots as an energetic member of an offense led by a rookie quarterback. Head coach Bill Belichick said so himself last week.
“KB has got some good energy. He brings that out to the practice field every day. It’s fun to have that type of personality and energy interjected into the team,” Belichick said.
“He works hard. Some of the things we’ve asked him to do, I feel like he’s really improved with. He’s got some good skills. Good quickness. He’s got length. Good target. Catches the ball well. He’s quick. Good skill set and a guy who’s continued to work hard and get better every single day. I have a lot of respect for the way he approaches the game and his work ethic on the practice field.”