Happy Overreaction Monday, everyone!
If your team looked bad this week, they’re never going to win a single game all season. If they looked great, I’d imagine you’re already looking into hotels in Glendale this February. Now is not the time for any kind of rational, realistic understanding that it’s only Week 1 and none of this means all that much just yet.
- No matter what happens for the rest of this season, it has already been a massive success, at least for yours truly; for the first time in two years, I found myself back at my favorite bar on the planet, Paddy’s of Park Slope, drinking IPAs and eating chili and making a general ass of myself. It’s just like it used to be and I couldn’t be happier.
- As wonderful as spending last night at Paddy’s was, it made me think of all the other bars out there that will never air a live game, pour a beer, or kick out a drunken degenerate again. If your local, wherever it is, made it through the pandemic, make sure you spend a little extra next time you’re in there. We’re all the lucky ones.
- Who isn’t one of the lucky ones, though, is that poor Jets fan at the end of the bar who went absolutely nuts every time the Jets got a first down. When called out on it by another patron, he said, and I quote: “Hey, I’m a Jets fan. First downs are pretty much all I have in the world.” Respect that level of awareness.
- This was a pretty frustrating game to watch overall. It made me feel like I was watching any Superman movie not starring Christopher Reeve. All the pieces were there for some really exciting stuff, but no matter who was out there they just couldn’t figure out how to make it work.
- New England’s first drive of the season was fantastic. Solid runs, accurate throws, and New England went from their own 25 to the Miami 22 without even needing a third down to get there. Then Mac Jones was intercepted in the end zone on a play that could very easily have been called for holding, but I’m ultimately OK with the call because I support letting these guys play. Plus, that’s the kind of 50/50 ball you want to see DeVante Parker making a little bit more effort on. But it was like after that pick, the offense got all grumpy over the non-call and decided to take the rest of the half off.
- Temperature at kickoff was around 110 degrees, which got me thinking; I legit can’t remember the last time the Patriots traveled to Miami anytime that wasn’t early September or late December. The NFL wants it super hot for the Patriots or warm for them after they’ve gotten accustomed to cold weather games. Anyone who feels like doing the four minutes of work it takes to find out when the last time New England traveled to Miami in October or early November, feel free to leave the results in the comments.
- It’s tough to put too much of a shine on the offensive turd we saw yesterday, but the good news is that a lot of the issues that cost the Patriots the game are fixable, starting with communication up front. Trent Brown sure did pick a weird time to have his worst game as a Patriot, but them’s the breaks. I’m not sure whether the strip sack TD was a bad read by Jones, a missed chip by Henry, or Brown not understanding the scheme, but Brown came in to double the EDGE and left the DB free on the blitz. Miami loves to send in DBs on the blitz, so that’s something the team should have been prepared for regardless.
- I’m sure the Boston media is having a field day with Matt Patricia today. The defensive guru-turned offensive line coach got pushed around yesterday. The Dolphins took that pencil he keeps behind his ear, broke it in half, and stuffed one half up each nostril. Not something I’m going to concern myself this early in the season, but still — not a great look.
- Also not a great look that Shaq Mason looked like a beast last night against the Cowboys.
- Cole Strange, after sitting out two series in exchange for career journeyman and practice squadder James Ferentz, told the media it was planned in order to keep the line fresh. I’m willing to accept that for now, but I can’t think of the last time a team rotated linemen out all the time unless things weren’t really working up front.
- It wasn’t all bad from an offensive perspective. I have a lot of faith in the Harris/Stevenson duo, and Jakobi Meyers made some fantastic contested catches. We saw a lot of Jonnu Smith motions and Ty Montgomery is going to provide a nice wrinkle as the year goes on. They just didn’t really put anything notable together after the first drive of the first half, and by the time they did get going (their one scoring drive was beautiful), the game was already out of reach.
- I’ll be curious to see if this is the kind of team that would be capable of coming back down 17. There were a few times where they were in position to get the ball back and regain some momentum, but they either gave up a first or somehow managed to allow a quick slant on 4th and 7 to go 42 yards to the house to put the game away just before halftime.
- Going for it on 4th down is the new normal in the NFL and I’m here for it. If a team is facing fourth and a reasonable amount from between their own 45 and the opposing 45 or so, they’re going for it. We saw a lot of teams do it last year against the Patriots and I was frustrated that Belichick didn’t follow suit. I’d like to hope the Patriots will continue going for it on situational fourth downs even when they don’t have to out of desperation.
- And speaking of, I want to get on the fouruth down play-calling, but going back and looking at film I think Miami just executed better than New England did on those plays. The quick outs were well covered and the sort of prayer upfield throws by Jones were more of a need to do something as opposed to just a lousy play call. Guys on the other side of the ball get to make plays too.
- Mac Jones doesn’t seem to be much of a sneak guy. Would like to see him add that to his repertoire.
- From a defensive standpoint, aside from a few hiccups, New England looked pretty solid. They only surrendered one touchdown, sacked a very mobile QB three times, and didn’t allow any truly explosive plays beyond that goddam slant that was a combination of good play-calling/execution and bad defense. Jack Jones even saw some time covering Tyreek Hill one on one, which I never thought I’d see. There were some Alec Shane-level mental errors on both sides of the ball — false starts, blown assignments, jumping on 4th down to keep a drive alive — but those are correctable. I feel like it will be different next time these two teams meet.
- I’ve always been a “the best food comes in buckets” kind of guy. I probably always will. So maybe it’s my bucket-bias talking here...but I just don’t get the whole bowl phenomenon. Restaurants everywhere are just throwing a bunch of food in a bowl and calling it a meal. I’m no longer buying any of it. Show me a bowl that doesn’t look like someone was carrying a plate to the table but dropped it on the floor and in a mad scramble to remedy the situation just slopped everything into a bowl and called it some kind of fusion and it will be the first one I’ve seen.
- Mike McDaniels looks like the guy the douchebag in every 80s movie bullies into submission before he ultimately gets revenge, and said douchebag’s girlfriend. Keep an eye on the Dolphins on October 30th when they play the Lions; no matter who wins that one, zero chance Dan Campbell doesn’t give McDaniel a wedgie, a swirlie, and then stuff him in a locker after the game.
- Kendrick Bourne was on the field for, by my count, two offensive snaps. One of those snaps resulted in his only catch of the day, a 41-yard grab. He was a ghost all preseason and absolutely nobody knows why.
- If nothing else happens this season, I’d like to hope that 2022 will mark the end of a stretch run for negative 3 yards on second down.
Not the start we were all hoping for... but also not the end of the world. A road loss to Miami is just kind of par for the course in New England, and still a long way to go. The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off one of the most wild games you’ll ever see, and both of these teams will be in need of some legitimate consistency next week, so it should be a good one.