The Patriots seemed damaged in Week 1


Fall got here early in New England this 12 months.

This isn’t a commentary on the climate within the northeast, a variation on the outdated saying that should you dislike the climate in New England, give it 10 minutes. No, it’s a commentary as an alternative on the psychological well-being of the Boston-area sports activities fan.

In spite of everything, the Boston Crimson Sox bought off to a sluggish begin, and after combating to get into second place within the American League East by early July, they light as summer season drew to an in depth, pressured to observe groups like Toronto, Tampa Bay and Baltimore rise above them within the standings.

And forcing space sports activities followers to dream of Mac Jones, the New England Patriots and sure, fall.

Nevertheless, after the begin to the 2022 season from the Patriots, it appears like winter is coming.

Following a summer season full of palace intrigue, questions over playcallers, offensive emphasis, and the event of their second-year quarterback, the new-look Patriots offense took the sphere Sunday afternoon for his or her season opener in opposition to the Miami Dolphins.

The outcomes weren’t fairly.

The Patriots managed only a single scoring drive within the season opener, falling 20-7 to the Dolphins on the highway. They managed simply 271 yards of complete offense, and turned the soccer over thrice within the loss.

New England opened the sport on offense, and simply when it seemed like they’d begin the marketing campaign with a landing (maybe silencing the priority coming from the Boston-area all summer season) Mac Jones seemed to attach with new extensive receiver DeVante Parker. Nevertheless, the Miami protection got here away with the ball on a deflection:

There was loads of contact between Parker and cornerback Xavien Howard on the route, and plenty of Patriots followers had been on the lookout for aid within the type of a yellow flag for move interference, however the aid by no means got here. As an alternative, the Dolphins took over possession due to Jevon Holland’s interception.

New England followers can be on the lookout for greater than aid later within the first half, as Jones coughed up the soccer halfway by way of the second quarter:

Boundary blitzes and perimeter pressures had been a difficulty for Jones final season, and his means to identify these designs presnap was an space of focus for the Patriots throughout coaching camp. On this play, with the tight finish having a free launch, Jones may be anticipating this play to be blocked up, with the left sort out fanning outdoors to select up the blitzer. Nevertheless, left sort out Trent Brown, a part of the three-man slide to the left, takes the within rusher and leaves security Brandon Jones free. Jones by no means checks to see if the safety is holding, assuming that it’s going to, and pays the worth.

For his half, Brandon Jones does an incredible job timing this blitz. Maybe the Dolphins additionally considered boundary blitzes and perimeter pressures as a precedence within the days main as much as this recreation…

By halftime, the Patriots trailed 17-0, due to a giant landing from Jaylen Waddle previous to the break, and with the New England offense sputtering, it didn’t appear to be a comeback was within the playing cards. Jones completed the primary half having accomplished 9 of 12 passes for 87 yards and the interception, for an NFL passer ranking of simply 60.1. New England was held to only 108 yards of offense within the first half, and solely 7 first downs.

Maybe some miraculous halftime changes would supply the reply?

For some time, it seemed like that was precisely what was taking place. After the New England protection pressured a Miami punt on the primary possession of the second half, the Patriots offense put collectively their first landing drive of the season. Regardless of beginning inside their very own ten-yard line, Jones and firm marched the size of the sphere. They acquired contributions on the bottom from each Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, and used some tempo on the drive to catch the Dolphins with too many males on the sphere at one level.

The drive ended with this quick landing strike from Jones to operating again Ty Montgomery:

Miami rushes simply three on this third-and-goal play, dropping eight into protection. The Patriots run a slant/flat mixture to the precise facet, with Parker slicing inside on the short slant whereas Montgomery releases to the flat out of the backfield. Howard sticks on Parker’s slant route, whereas nobody matches Montgomery to the flat, and the operating again makes the catch and barrel rolls into the top zone for New England’s first factors.

They might even be their final factors.

The Patriots failed to attain once more on the afternoon, and the important level may need come early within the fourth quarter. After Montgomery was stopped on an inside run on a 3rd down close to midfield with simply over ten minutes remaining, the Patriots burned their first day trip to strategize for fourth down. Trailing 20-7, this felt like a make-or-break second for New England.

They broke.

As soon as extra, the Dolphins dropped eight into protection. This time, nonetheless, the numbers benefit labored. Jones’ fourth-down try within the path of Hunter Henry fell incomplete — and would have been nullified for a holding name on Brown — and Miami took over.

The Patriots would get one ultimate likelihood for factors, however as soon as extra the offense sputtered. Nelson Agholor fumbled the ball away in Miami territory with simply over 5 minutes remaining, and the Dolphins recovered. Miami was in a position to salt the sport away, sending the guests residence with the loss.

And maybe extra worrisome, sending Jones to the X-Ray room at Exhausting Rock Stadium:

For Patriots followers on the lookout for hope, they could want an additional shade of rose on their glasses. Whereas the NFL is at instances packaged hope, due to free company and the draft making each fan base imagine they’re only one transfer away from it being really their 12 months, the Sunday night time after an opening-season loss is commonly the hardest night time of the soccer 12 months.

Positive, Patriots followers can level to sluggish begins from groups of the previous, or they will level to what they noticed in spurts from Harris and Stevenson within the operating recreation. They’ll have a look at the moments when Jones was snug within the pocket, and made fast selections with the soccer. They’ll level to the New England protection holding Miami to only 13 offensive factors. They’ll additionally look to what Kendrick Bourne did on his solely goal of the sport, as he will get behind the protection for this 41-yard acquire:

Nevertheless, these moments may be of little solace this night. In spite of everything, Patriots followers had been handled to an offensive show from the Buffalo Payments on the opening night time of the season, and New England now faces three video games that look a little bit tougher tonight than when the schedule was introduced. They’ll face a visit to Pittsburgh to tackle the Steelers subsequent week, a protection which pissed off Joe Burrow on Sunday (however could possibly be with out T.J. Watt after struggling an damage in opposition to Cincinnati). Then they’ll sq. off with Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers in successive weeks.

Not precisely a clean approach to begin the 12 months.

Whereas Patriots groups prior to now underneath Invoice Belichick have used the primary 4 video games of the 12 months as an prolonged preseason, the inconsistencies from the offense which cropped up throughout coaching camp and continued into the primary recreation of the season point out that extra work is important. Belichick has lengthy maintained that he desires his groups taking part in their greatest soccer because the season goes on, and that point of the soccer calendar is a great distance off.

However you may forgive the Patriots fan who tonight talked about that they really feel a little bit of a nip within the air. As a result of in Week 1, it looks like winter is coming.


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