The New England Patriots lost their first game of the season 37-20 to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
There were many different variables and uncharacteristic mistakes that occurred on Sunday night for the New England Patriots that went into obtaining their first loss; and the Baltimore Ravens capitalized upon all of them.
A good team will exploit the obvious in their opponent, and that’s exactly what the Ravens did on Sunday with Marshall Newhouse and the Patriots’ struggling offensive line.
Marshall Newhouse is still getting blown-up entirely too often from left-tackle. It’s been a problem in regards to the running game, but on Sunday he couldn’t block for the run or the pass and it showed. He’s becoming the weakest-link in the offensive line and the team could use some positive reinforcements in the name of Isaiah Wynn.
The New England Patriots offense struggled to get anything going from the ground. Sony Michel is supposed to be the production back, while James White is more of a specialty back, but that was not the case on Sunday. White led the team in rushing with nine carries for 38 yards, and also had two receptions for 46 yards.
Michel and Rex Burkhead each had four carries for 18 yards. Regardless of the struggling o-line, Michel needs to make some magic of his own from time to time; we haven’t seen that too much from him now in year two. As much as the offensive line negatively impacts the running attack, these backs need to make some plays of their own.
The air attack got off to a slow start for Tom Brady. As always, the team made some adjustments and found a way to drive down the field on a few occasions. Brady connected on 30/46 of his attempts for 285 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Even though Brady didn’t have the best night, it should be noted that Tom still has moves in the pocket.
I found it highly impressive watching him step up in the pocket, shuffling and sliding at the right times to avoid being hit or sacked. Brady’s footwork did not look one of a 42 years old quarterback. The resistant band workout on the beach is paying off.
Julian Edelman committed an unlikely turnover by fumbling the ball on his way to the ground; which was returned seventy yards for a touchdown. We rarely see an Edelman fumble and shouldn’t spend too much time on that one, as he knows he let his team down. I doubt we see another Julian Edelman fumble this season. Edelman finished the night with ten receptions for 89 yards and one costly fumble.
Mohamed Sanu has opened up this wide receiver corps. In just his second game with the New England Patriots, Sanu reeled in ten receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown. It’s been said by many that the Patriots offense is difficult and challenging to pick up so quickly, but that doesn’t appear to be the case for Sanu. It’s also pretty evident that Brady trusts him, as Sanu had a team high fourteen targets.
The New England Patriots are looking for both N’keal Harry and Isaiah Wynn to return next week after their bye. Wynn would be a huge upgrade from Newhouse at this point, as Tom has already pointed out he’s looking forward to his return:
“We have one player that we’re hoping can return from injury, Isaiah Wynn, who was our left tackle to start the year.” – Per Tom Brady on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show
I truly think N’keal Harry is the missing answer for the Patriots. Even though he has been on IR, Harry is still part of the team meetings and is studying his playbook. Harry’s production on the field won’t come from not knowing his plays, but from lack of rapport with his quarterback, Tom Brady.
Phillip Dorsett has been helping his new teammate by filling him in and letting him know what’s happening during the plays. Dorsett, like Sanu, is another player who came to New England and picked up this offense quickly. Dorsett thinks Harry will play an important role for the Pats this season.
“I want him to succeed just as much as I want to succeed. At the end of the day, if he succeeds, this team succeeds. We have one goal. We want to win. And we know that he knows that he can help us win.” –Phillip Dorsett, Per WEEI’s Ryan Hannable
All in all for the Patriots to remain successful, they need to become a more balanced offense. Hopefully with the addition of Wynn the Patriots will have better luck running the ball, and get their offense back to the level of success it needs to be.