December 6, 2016

Gut Check – Game 11 at Saints

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Oh when the Saints, go marchin’ in, Oh when the Saints go marchin’ in,

Oh, it would help to cover their receivers, when the Saints go marchin’ in.

Given a chance to prove they could flower under pressure, New England instead festered in the dung heap, falling to the Saints 38-17. Whether throwing an interception to Mike McKenzie or failing to cover Devery Henderson on a 75-yard catch-and-stride touchdown, the Patriots looked about as at-home in New Orleans as a group of prohibitionists.

New England gave up almost 500 yards of offense, 371 from the passing of Drew Brees (five TDs), who looked like he was playing flag football all night.

As I try to stop shaking my head, some quick thoughts below…

Road Worriers: All four of the Patriots’ losses have come on the road.

Half-Hearted: In their losses, New England has been outscored in the second half 47-10.

bradyTom Turkey: Despite having support from a decent running game, quarterback Tom Brady never got into a rhythm (21 of 36, 237 yards). He threw a momentum-killing pick in the first quarter, missed open receivers deep (Randy Moss and Sam Aiken) and finished off his performance with an interception to nowhere.

Light Duty: Left tackle Matt Light got back on the field and did a solid job at left tackle. Nick Kaczur at right tackle? Not so much. Here’s hoping rookie Sebastian Vollmer returns and gets some time at that spot to show what he can do.

Lo Fidelity: When running back Sammy Morris returned to the active roster, we feared that Laurence Maroney might take offense. Well, however he felt about it, it worked, as LoMo carried 15 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns, running with the kind of ferocity seen in predators on the Discovery Channel.

(For those of you who have remained loyal to LoMo, congratulations. Now stop; it’s getting a little annoying.)

We’ll Have A Gay Old Time: Saints cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer sat, making way for new free agent McKenzie and old friend Randall Gay. You would think the Patriots would have been able to take advantage of that.

Yeah. You would think.

Next week, 7-4 New England travels to Miami. Here’s hoping the Pats can score in the second half.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]

Comments

  1. Bruce Allen says:

    One of the most dispiriting losses of the Bill Belichick era.

  2. I’ll be honest here. I’ve been a patriots fan for a large portion of my life, and it pains me to say this, but the patriots have just become “pretty good”. Brady is maybe the 3rd best quarterback in the league (Manning, Brees), at least for this year. We beat the teams that we’re supposed to beat, and we lose the games that are against the elite teams of the NFL. If we were to play Denver again, I think we beat them, and I think we beat the Jets 9 times out of 10. But teams like the Colts and Saints we don’t stand a chance. Brady looked terrible in this game, and unless he can get back to being super accurate we’re going to lose in the second round of the playoffs to either SD or Cincy.

    There just seem to be more problems on this team then there have been in previous versions. I mean Gostkowski missing a field goal, Brady missing receivers short and long, the defense getting torched, and the run game being effective but not dominant. What is the Patriots’ identity? I hope its not true, but I felt like this game was a changing of the guard.

    • Chris Warner says:

      Dru, I feel your pain and agree 100 percent on the “pretty good” description. What else can we say about a team that has yet to beat anyone on their home turf? If that continues, we’re looking dead on at 10-6 and an early playoff exit. Very disappointing.

  3. Oy. Talk about not trusting the defense…
    – Troubling — the famous “in-game adjustments” failed to have any effect. Was it me, or was there a lack of bump-and-run by the corners? Meriweather had flashes of brilliance but both he and McGowan were badly beaten on several plays with bad angles.
    – As mentioned by players on both teams, the Saints didn’t unearth a tome of new plays just for this game. For example, New Orleans has used the double-fake-screen pass to Thomas in other games this season, so it’s surprising the defense wasn’t prepared. I don’t think I remember a blown coverage as bad as the one missed on Henderson — it’s a corner blitz so clearly someone has to take the receiver and knows about it before the snap.
    – Brady still doesn’t seem 100% comfortable in this offense. I think we are witnessing McDaniels’ value and why Belichick hasn’t made O’Brien the “official” OC yet. Kudos for sticking with the running game but Moss has to get involved earlier in order to be productive (or at least to mentally stay in the game). I think there was a Ben Watson sighting, right? Right?
    – Defense looked old and slow, save for Wilfork. The missed tackles on Pierre Thomas’ TD pass triggered flashbacks of a certain screen pass to Joseph Addai. Wonder what the score would have been if Reggie Bush had played?

  4. Classless says:

    I can’t stand watching this Defense. The missed tackles are the equivalent to the Celtics fighting each other for rebounds. Let’s be real: as of right now, there are no legitimate playmakers on this Defense besides Wilfork. Adalius Thomas and Derek Burgess will be cut with extreme prejudice come the offseason. Also, let’s wipe the shine off of Jerod Mayo. He’s invisible on the field, except when he’s making tackles 7 yards downfield.

    • Chris Warner says:

      Disagree re: Mayo. He had a bad game, but he’s a necessary component to the D if they’re going to go anywhere. I don’t think we can look at this game and get a perfect picture of what this defense can do, just like we can’t look at their 4 picks vs. Sanchez and define them that way.

      But you do have a point about the lack of playmakers.

  5. I mostly agree with the comments here (esp Ricky and the O’Brien comment) but allow me to be optimistic (what the heck, why not?)

    There are two big problems, as I see it, the first was stopping the big play, and for the most part, we’ve done a great job of that this year. Not sure exactly why it was such a huge problem yesterday.

    The other big problem on D is the lack of a play maker. You could always rely on Rodney to pop up at the right time and make an INT, or Vrabel to make a sack. So the theory is that if you make teams like the Colts/Saints fight for their scores, that someone will make a play and stall the drive. That’s just not happening, not against the good teams, anyway (or even the likes of Denver).

    In the (I’ll admit it…sigh) unlikely case that last nights game is a SB rematch, I don’t see the same type of game unfolding. Even if it’s just the fact that it will be outdoors, grass and a “neutral” crowd (or not as loud, anyway).

    Good luck to the saints, though, if we can’t win it, I’d love to see them do it. God knows, the city could use it, I’m sure.

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