Here’s the latest episode of Patshow Live as we tear the defense a new one over their performance against the Panthers. Fitzy puppet stops by, we take a look at some of our favorite social media from the game and we break down one of the terrible defensive breakdowns from the loss. It’s all here on Patshow!
Despite the offseason speculation about the possibility of the elusive undefeated season, your 2017 New England Patriots currently sit at 2-2 after Graham Gano sent a 48-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired to give the Carolina Panthers the win last Sunday.
After the offseason addition of Stephon Gilmore, the Patriots defense was heralded by many as even better than the 2016 unit that led the NFL in points per game allowed. Despite this, the 2017 iteration of the Patriots defense is ranked dead last in the NFL in points per game, giving up 34 points on average, 18.4 more points allowed than their 2016 predecessors. They also rank last in the NFL in total yards allowed (1585) and passing yards allowed (1296), and have given up the most points through four games (128) in team history.
On Sunday, the Patriots allowed the Panthers offense, ranked 29th coming into Week 4, to put up 444 yards, which is worrisome enough, but the worst part of that stat is that it actually improved their season average, which now rests at 456.8 yards per game, also last in the league.
The silver lining to the Patriots defensive issues is that the majority of the breakdowns appear to rooted in communication issues in the secondary, with the primary culprit being the aforementioned Stephon Gilmore, who signed a five-year, 65 million dollar deal with the Patriots just months ago, 40 million of which was guaranteed.
Took some time to reflect upon the Patriots disappointing 33-30 loss to the Panthers and now it’s time to quickly put it to rest. To bury the proverbial football if you will. There’s already another game in three short days, and in this case it’s a really good thing.
I try to avoid overreacting to anything early in the season, at least until we’ve got a sample size to work with. Now, four games in, we have the sample size and yes, the defense has been historically bad. It’s almost unfathomable how many points they’ve given up. They’re dead last or close to it in every defensive stat out there and they deserve to be. There is no silver lining. No “yeah, but”. They’re all out of sync and admitted to as much after the game.
This isn’t a talent issue. This is a fundamental “play the coverage called” issue, so that’s why there actually is some hope for the defense. I’ve seen and blogged extensively about untalented defenses like those in 2010 and 2011. Those were hodge podge crews that survived because they played zone defense that allowed them to prey on turnovers while giving up epic amounts of yardage. This is a defense that can and should vary coverages like they’ve won two of the last three Super Bowls with.
Could the pass rush be better? Always, but when there are just wide open receivers or a screen pass where no one is within a mile of the ball, those are coverage lapses that cannot happen. The first couple weeks of the season? I’ll give you a slight pass. Four-straight games to start the season? Unacceptable. And historically bad.
128 points allowed through four games is the worst in team history. How is that possible? We’ve seen one- and two-win teams, but this, a team coming off a Super Bowl win, a perennial 12-win team, is THAT bad? Mind boggling.
Okay, let’s talk about the offense, who once again almost had a chance for a last-minute victory. It wasn’t perfect for them, but as far as NFL offenses go and what we’ve come to expect, they’re going to be fine.
Schematically I do worry about the pounding Brady is taking as the team goes more vertical, but I think the short passing game will continue to grow as the season goes along. Some pass protection issues, an inconsistent ground game? All things we’ve seen and overcome before. So while we can discuss and dissect plenty of minutiae, as long as he’s upright, Brady’s going to find ways to put up 30 points like he did today.
Can the defense get on the same page and hold opponents under 30? That right now is the question of 2017.
Here are a bunch more quick-hit posits as we all trudge into work on a victory-less Monday.
Mike Petraglia via CLNS Media weighs in on the Patriots 33-30 loss to the Panthers from Foxboro.
The Patriots fell to 2-2 on the season Sunday, losing to the Carolina Panthers 33-30 on a last-second field goal. The Panthers scored on six of their nine possessions, with a fumble, an interception and a punt the only time the Patriots defense got off the field without surrendering points.
Despite Tom Brady’s best efforts, leading the Pats back to tie the game from 14 points down late in the fourth quarter, the defense was unable to get a final stop, taking two penalties on the final drive that helped set up the wining field goal.
There’s little time to sulk, with a quick turnaround to a Thursday night game in Tampa Bay. Perhaps that’s for the best. But it’s unmistakable that this Patriots team has serious issues on both sides of the ball and they must get them fixed quickly.
Here’s how the grossness went down…
My gears are grinding. So before we get to enjoy the game this week, I need to get a few things off my chest.
Let’s start with this article about Aaron Rodgers comeback to victory against the lowly Bengals. A performance that Rob Demovsky began with these stupid paragraphs:
Take that, Tom Brady.
It’s what MVP quarterbacks do.
And Rodgers might have even one-upped Brady.
I mean, this article begs 3 questions:
The Patriots played the Houston Texans, a team that happened to make the playoffs last year behind one of the best defenses in football that now has JJ Watt back. Aaron Rodgers played the Cincinnati Bengals, who suck donkey butts. Rodgers and Brady are both great QBs and are allowed to both have great performances.
- On what planet was Aaron Rodgers’s performance better than Brady’s?
They both came back at the last minute, they were both hounded by a strong pass rush, they both had turnovers returned for touchdowns. But Brady completed 71% of his throws for 378 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT and 1 fumble against the best front seven in football, while Aaron Rodgers completed 67% of his throws for 313, 3 TDs, 1 INT. Rodgers had the 15th highest rating of the week for a QB (not counting Ryan Mallett’s fill in duty). Brady the 2nd. If it was a competition, Brady did everything Rodgers did, just better.
- Why do lazy ESPN writers do this dumbshit narrative ALL THE TIME?
In the take culture at (are they still?) the worldwide leader, the most pervasive media narrative is that Brady isn’t as great as you think he is. And Rodgers is a God. He is, just let it go. Rodgers is also great. They can both be great!
The Patriots and Panthers have met just six times, but there have been quite a few notable games, none moreso than Super Bowl 38, which remains to this day one of the most exciting Super Bowls of all time. When they renew the rivalry again at Gillette tomorrow there won’t be quite as much on the line but somehow their games always seem to be interesting.
In their first matchup in 1995, the Panthers’ first season in the league, the Patriots lost in overtime, en route to a disappointing 6-10 season. John Kasay‘s overtime field goal dropped the Pats to 2-6 as Kerry Collins threw for 306 yards and Derrick Moore (? lol) rushed for 119 yards.
Their second matchup didn’t come until the 2001 season and because of 9/11 was played on January 6th, usually when the playoffs had started. We’re used to the final game of the regular season being meaningless but this one gave the Pats the chance to win the second seed in the AFC. The Patriots pounded the one-win Panthers 38-6 and set the stage for the Tuck Rule game two weeks later in the final game at the old Foxborough Stadium.