I feel like I finally saw the game for the first time just now, getting a chance to look at the All-22 film. For those of you who were lucky enough to miss it, I came down with a killer stomach bug Saturday afternoon that destroyed me through the night. That made watching the game on Sunday less than optimal.
There was no pregamming. No pump up music or good food or drinks. I could barely muster the strength to coordinate my Patriots outfit for Hoodie’s sake! Nope, spent the game sipping Gatorade and nibbling on saltines, praying that the nightmare unfolding before me was just some kind of fever dream.
Alas it was not. But there was plenty on here to make me sick if I already hadn’t caught whatever Jamie Collins had the middle of this season.
There’s been plenty of great film review already out there, but I had to take a look for myself and most of what has been discussed was confirmed. But here’s what I saw with my own eyes.
First, let’s say I can’t wait to go back to Denver next year even though we have no idea who their QB will be. Every time we go there we kill ourselves with un-Patriot-like football. Football is a game of inches and that was very true in this one.
The Pats just hung in there and kept fighting when it seemed like the game was hanging by a string multiple times. Despite all the negative attention being heaped on everyone this week, this game was winnable in spite of it all.
Yes, Wade Phillips deserves a ton of credit but it was nothing the Pats haven’t see and shredded before. The problem was that they weren’t expecting it, weren’t ready to counter it and once Brady couldn’t get locked in the game was a struggle.
Nothing sums this up better than seeing Julian Edelman wide open on a couple plays yet Brady is forcing it deep to Bolden. Seriously I pray I never have to watch a Brandon Bolden-centric ground game ever again. It’s like Matthew Slater at wide receiver. You’re awesome at special teams. Stick to what you’re awesome at.
Hard to ask for the defense to do too much better than they did. Yes the first drive was gross but also aided by a questionable PI call. Collins blew two coverages that resulted in touchdowns but outside of those two plays there were barely any legitimate big plays made on the defense. Anderson’s 30-yard run in the fourth quarter was the only real breakdown.
All things considered the defense did everything they had to do to let the offense win the game. Take that defensive performance in any other season-ender and the Pats probably win. Could we have used another takeaway? Sure. But they forced punt after punt and only gave up three points after the half. What else can you ask?
Collins and Hightower led the way, but Brown and Branch were standouts as well. The secondary all stayed right with their guy in man coverage and limited YAC. Matt Patricia must be driving himself crazy because the defense was good enough to win despite facing two turnovers and multiple short fields.
Malcolm Butler’s stop on third-and-1 where he takes off like he’s shot out of a cannon to tackle Anderson for no gain in the third quarter was such a clutch play. Butler deserves every bit of praise he gets now as a #1 corner.
Amendola seemed like he was hurt after every play. Very curious to see what the offseason holds for him.
The troubling thing about the offensive line and likely why Gugs got the axe, was how out of sync they looked. There was no rhythm, especially in the run game. And even when they brought in Fleming to go max protect, Miller blows right by him for the worst sack of the day. Just unacceptable because they looked clueless.
Sebastian Vollmer will be having nightmares about Demarcus Ware, who owned our veteran tackle almost every down. Even at the end, Ware just kept coming and Vollmer just didn’t have the foot speed to compete.
Just too painful to ever watch the failed two-pointer again. Gronk was so so wide open.
Can’t believe how Brady hung in there and just kept fighting after taking the beating of his life. And to think they were just a play or two away from winning this thing is such a testament to Brady and the team’s mental toughness. They went down like champs should go down, swinging to the last.
After a full two days of reflection and taking a calm look at the film the fire has already started for the 2016 season for me. And yes, we get to go back to Denver. With pretty much this entire team coming back the Pats will clearly be the AFC favorites come September, but we all know it’s a win in Mile High that will be the big thing we all want.