— Patriots 19 Buccaneers 14 —
Sure, the Patriots avoided a Gronk-sized disaster Thursday night by squeaking out a 5-point victory at Raymond James Stadium against the host Buccaneers…
But it was far from a convincing effort, and did little to shoe away the nervous energy surrounding football’s perennial team to beat. The vultures continue to circle.
Few would’ve thought these Patriots could pull off a win only scoring only 19-points — their defence having been a complete and total tire-fire up to this point — but leave it to a Tampa Bay place kicker to tee up a W.
Problem is…he did it for the wrong team — and kicking woes in Tampa continue.
Did anybody check the air pressure of the kicking balls?
We all know what the Pats are capable of. Desperate times call for…you get it — I don’t subscribe to this belief, although you never know! Balls missing a sliver of air could conceivably factor into a 5-point ball game where 3 FGs were missed.
Their ability to shift the balance of power in a 38-point blowout????? *shakes head*
Nothing happened here…I don’t think.
Figured I’d rattle a few cages insinuating the possibility surrounding some classic Patriot gamesmanship.
Other takeaways from Thursday night’s affair:
- The Bucs need to solve their kicking issues. They’ve tried drafting the best kicker kicker in college football history last year, Roberto Aguayo out of FSU — in the SECOND ROUND! — Nick Folk, their current place kicker is an established veteran, holding a career FG% of 80.3, including a 2016-2017 campaign that saw him make all but 4 kicks — 2 of which were inside 40 yards (Folk also missed 2 XPs). On the whole, Folk has had a solid career, but his Tampa tenure has been anything but.
(According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Tampa Bay plans have scheduled several kicker workouts following Thursday night’s loss to New England.)
- The New England defence is still very much a work-in-progress. 14 points allowed looks good, but consider the following stat lines:
- Winston: 26/46 334 yds (7.3 avg) 1 TD 0 INT
- Martin: 13 CAR 74 yds (5.1 avg) 1 TD
- Jackson: 5 REC 106 yds (21.2 avg)
- Never-mind the 14 points against, Matt Patricia’s defensive unit is far from a solved puzzle. Penalties and poor play have many, including myself, doubting their ability to slow down really anybody at this point. This victory was in spite of the defence when you consider the points left on the field by Bucs kicker Nick Folk (misses from 31, 49, and 56).
- Despite the victory, it’s clear how much Brady misses the Julian Edelman safety net. With such a depleted WR core, Brady is being forced to stand in the pocket longer than usual resulting in him taking more hits than typically he’s accustomed to.
- Patrick Chung can play for me any day of the week. The strong safety had a handful of textbook pass breakups and despite the overall struggles on defence, has been a high impact player for the Patriots otherwise inferior unit.
Going into last night’s game, Rob Gronkowski was listed as QUESTIONABLE with a thigh injury. Despite the designation, many assumed Gronk would suit but in a somewhat surprising turn of events, he was held out of action leaving Brady without his two most favourite targets — The win increased the Patriots record to 11-0 in games where the mammoth TE sits.
Not too shabby!
TEACH ME HOW TO DOUGIE…
Week 5 brought with it the return of Buccaneers RB Doug Martin, who was suspended for the first four weeks of the season. Having looked impressive in his season debut, the hope is for Martin to inject some much needed life into a running game that has been relatively ineffective so far in 2017.
- How will the Bucs address their kicking issues in a season that’s already seen them trot multiple candidates onto the field? With playoffs being the desired destination, a decision must be made…and fast. NEXT GAME: @ARIZONA
- Despite a 19 point showing and some injuries to key players, few are concerned about the state of the Patriots offence. On most days, they can score with the best. The question continues to be what, if anything, can they do to plug the holes on defence? A more consistent pass-rush, tighter coverage and creating more turnovers are just a few items to address if a Super Bowl appearance is meant to be viewed as a legitimate possibility. Pretty sure I just listed the only 3 facets that comprise a defence — pass rush, coverage, turnovers. Yup, that’s all 3. They really are some kind of bad. NEXT GAME: @NEW YORK JETS
Man oh man, the sequence of events that would follow a loss to the Jets.
The mere fact we all acknowledge it to be a realistic possibility speaks to the lunacy this NFL season has already brought us.
We will all find out Sunday!
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone!
Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images