McGinley: Patriots nothing if not disappointing on Sunday
Mannion McGinley | Wednesday, October 21, 2020
This weekend, I got to see a true Gronk spike for the first time in a year and a half. I was so excited about it until I reminded myself, once again, that it occurred in Buccaneer Orange and not Patriots Navy. Setting those emotions aside, let me start again.
This weekend for the Pats did not go as planned. With Cam Newton back from COVID-19, the only other COVID victim in the usual starting crew was Sony Michel, who has already been on IR. Thus, it should have been a successful game and an easy win against the 1-3 Broncos, especially since the Patriots were home in Foxborough.
“Should have” being the key phrase, as neither team was really all that stellar. Both teams had less than 300 yards of total offense for the game. The Pats led the passing game 171-164, and the Broncos led the rushing game 135-117. The game really came down to the defense. What should have been a blow out for the Pats had the potential to become one in the other direction.
While Newton was back on the field, accompanied by his full arsenal of offensive weapons, something was off.
The main issue resided in the offensive line on Sunday. While Tom Brady was able to praise the Buccaneers offensive line, Newton could not do the same. The problems started in the first quarter, when the line left a gaping hole for Shelby Harris to get through and cause a tipped pass, leading to an interception. The Broncos defense had four sacks on the day. Additionally, the line couldn’t establish enough gaps for running backs Rex Burkhead, James White and Damien Harris to use. The three backs had 15 of the 25 carries between them and only 41 of the 117 rushing yards.
When the line did make time and space for a play to develop, the offense couldn’t hold onto the ball. Newton had that first interception and two fumbles. Tight end Ryan Izzo also had a fumble. The game was signed, sealed, delivered to the Broncos when Newton threw one more pick in the fourth quarter.
The biggest indicator of a bad game for the Patriots, though, is when Julian Edelman, the star wide receiver and secret college quarterback gets to throw not once, but twice in a game. It’s even worse when those throws amount to more yardage than he had receptions. Edelman completed two passes for 38 yards but had only two receptions for eight yards.
The only saving grace was the defense which, after all these slip ups, managed to prevent any touchdowns from the Broncos.
I’m not willing to give up on the Pats just yet. I’ll chalk this game up to still rebuilding from COIVD losses, but saying that this game was tough to watch would be an understatement.