Random (mostly angry) thoughts and 3 ups and downs from the Patriots’ 33-20 loss to the Dolphins.
Well that was a disgusting, simply horrible, utterly unwatchable disaster. And I think I’m putting that lightly.
I was riding that hype train, along with all of Patriots’ nation, right to Glendale, Arizona and nothing was going to get in our way. Until we hit the first stop and exploded. By all accounts, yesterday was going to be a fine day of football. The first day of the season, everyone is excited, Brady and the Patriots were going to roll to an easy victory and the world would be right. The Dolphins wanted to win yesterday’s game and the Patriots were happy to let them. That is about the nicest way I can put it. Ugh, it was just a shit show that I couldn’t take my eyes from. The hype train had a fiery crash which all of Pats nation watched in stunned silence, only to be broken with the occasion: “Are you shitting me!?” or “If you’re going to block someone, make sure its Cameron Wake!”
It’s rough to start a season 0-1 and at the bottom of the AFC East (I can promise you Jets fans will be happy to remind us of this). Not much went right this game so I think it’s only fitting to start with the 3 downs so that we can continue to wallow in our own self pity.
The Offensive Line
Here is the only way I know how to describe what the Patriots O line was yesterday: It was like watching Marshall Eriksen’s middle school kids getting completely destroyed by the magically morphing college players and their teen wolf. (For all of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, watch How I Met Your Mother.) Needless to say, the O line was almost comically outmatched.
Now I am a man who gives credit where credit is due so kudos to the Miami defensive line and in particular Cameron Wake, who despite being one of the best pass rushers in the league, was unblocked almost 50% of the time. Definitely a game winning strategy.
But this is the NFL and no line should start collapsing the instant the ball is snapped. It was painful to watch. Brady would get the snap, drop back and have to immediately step up into the pocket just to avoid getting man handled by Wake or any other Miami pass rusher who wanted to jump on the Free Sacks sale.
But I will take a deep breath and hope that this was a one time occurrence. Also, if anyone has Dante Scarnecchia’s number please give it to me so I can fill in voice mail with pleas to come out of retirement.
The Defensive Line
Are you seeing a theme here? What’s everyone’s favorite line about the NFL, other than defense wins championships? Win the battle in the trenches. Well, the Patriots looked like the English because they lost, and lost hard.
From the beginning, the Pats’ D line looked lost and overpowered. The Dolphins’ O line, which Greg Gumbel and Trent Green happily reminded us all constantly, was brand spanking new. All five players were new, yet they took it to the Patriots’ D line, one that was suppose to be much better with the return of Vince Wilfork and drafting Dominique Easley.
Knowshon Moreno, from now on known as the newest Patriot killer, rushed easily for 134 yards and scored a touchdown. Lamar Miller wanted to pad his stats as well so he got in 11 carries for 59 yards. Gross. Oh and lets note that next week we play Adrian Peterson. Just let that sink in.
Also, someone explain to me why the Patriots were running a 3-4 defense when the don’t have that personnel. Yes you have Vince, but who outside of him can play on the line? And then you’re asking Chandler Jones to play linebacker? Or 34 end? Neither of which utilizes what the man is: a 43 pass rusher who beats the tackle. Sort of like… oh, Cameron Wake.
I may be crazy for saying this, but I missed Brandon Spikes this game. He’s shit against the pass, but if this rush defense keeps up, there will be no need to worry about the pass since everyone will just run the ball on us, which is something Spike stops very nicely. Not a smart decision by the coaching staff, which wonderfully leads us to our 3rd down…
Pretty Much Everything
A quote from the Hoodie: “We just didn’t play well enough or coach well enough or really do anything well enough. We didn’t do anything well enough in the second half, period.”
God I could rant for hours about every little thing that went wrong this game but I shalln’t, mainly because I want breakfast. So here is the super fast anger filled bullet points:
- Malcolm Butler on Brian Hartline, really? Hartline loved it.
- More yelling about running a 34 defense.
- OH, lets also look back on the Chandler Jones “sack” that was called a foul because he hit Ryan Tannehill’s chin. New idea: no one can touch the QB, instead they have a flag that you need to pull off them for a sack. Sounds super fun to me!
- Love Josh McDaniels calling the “Shane Vereen wheel route that just misses his fingers on 2nd and 10 so that we have to deal with a 3rd and ten at a very crucial part of the game”. Excellent play calling.
- How bout running the ball? Thoughts?
- Aaron Dobson is healthy, but we don’t want him to play. Brandon LaFell, YOU WILL SAVE US! Oops.
- And lets stop throwing to Thompkins and Edelman while we’re at it. They’ve been really good but lets not utilize what’s been working.
- INSTEAD FORCE IT TO GRONK!
- I hope this defense learns to tackle. Because, again, we are playing A-dri-an Pe-ter-son. My heart attack is just waiting for me.
Haza! All done.
Gronk Is (Kinda) Back
We got ourselves our first Gronk spike and I had my first “should have started Gronk over Kyle Rudolph” moment. Thank you fantasy.
It was great to see Gronk out there playing again and taking hits, which is the most important thing for him. Obviously he and Brady were reading entirely different books at points during the game but that’ll come with time and practice. Ultimately, not the worst outing for him since he hasn’t played football in forever.
Those Young Defenders We Were Worried About
Jamie Collins had a great game, one of the few defenders who did. His day was highlighted by smacking Mike Wallace and causing a fumble in the first quarter. Ah, those first quarters when all was right in the world.
Logan Ryan, after having a subpar preseason, was much better this game and he had easily the hit of the day, where he destroyed Lamar Miller. I didn’t know the kid could hit like that. The ball rocketed in the air and was only beaten by Miller’s shoe, which landed on the ground around the time Revis was tackled after recovering the fumble.
Alfonzo Dennard had the lone interception of the game, attacking the ball at it’s highest point and taking away what otherwise would have been a touchdown to Wallace.
Maybe if the vets played like these young guys, we could have won this game.
We Lost in 2001 and 2003
This is what every Patriots fan is clinging to right now. We haven’t lost the season opener since 2003. We won the Super Bowl. We also lost in 2001. We won the Super Bowl. Could Lady Fate be smiling upon us again and hand us all the glory in the world? Lets hope so.
On this unofficial holiday — Overreaction Monday — let us all take a deep breath and realize that this team is still really good. Bill Belichick will die before he coaches another game as poorly as he coached this and you can bet our lines will be a shit ton better (mainly just because there is no where to go but up). We still have Brady and in a QB driven world that means something.
The Saints lost, the Packers lost, and even the Broncos almost fell to the young Stanford kid at home. The regular season is a different beast but there are still 16 games to be played. That’s plenty of time to right the ship. And win the Super Bowl.