On September 26th, the New England Patriots played as badly as they possibly could have offensively. With a final score of 28-13, the New Orleans Saints came away with a win. Despite the two-score deficit, the Patriots played terribly.
Alvin Kamera and The Saints Defense: Kamera contributed 47% of the Saints’ total offensive yards as well as 25% of their scores. A wide-open look in the Red Zone allowed him to get the first points of the game. With 89 yards on the ground and 29 through the air, he clearly established himself as the centerpiece of that offense. The Saints’ defense took advantage of some poor play calls, questionable throws, and a disorganized Patriots’ offensive line. Jonnu Smith dropping most of his targets did help, but with the defense getting 3 interceptions, 6 tackles for a loss, and 2 sacks they handled the messy offensive play.
Kendrick Bourne: It was a struggle to find any positives from the Patriots last week. Kendrick Bourne stood out by catching 6 out of 8 passes for 96 yards and the only Patriots score. I would include Jakobi Meyers, until you look at his targets to catch ratio. Bourne had an impressive 31-yard reception that helped set up for an eventual Nick Folk field goal.
The Patriots Defense and Special Teams: The Defense was down Josh Uche, who was off to a hot start this year. However, despite a sluggish first quarter, the defense managed to hold the Saints’ to just 1 score per quarter. The fact they let them score at all, including a majorly blown coverage on Kamera, was a big letdown. Only 4 tackles for a loss and 3 sacks, Matt Judon stood out by acquiring 2.5 of those sacks. The Special Teams was also alright, but All-Pro Punter Jake Bailey had an off game. Only one of his 5 punts was inside the 20. Gunner Olsewski was averaging only 10 yards on 3 returns, and we once again relied too heavily on Nick Folk. Folk went 2 for 2 on field goals on the day, which is good, but relying on merely solid Defensive and Special Teams’ play is hard when your offense can’t generate anything.
Jameis Winston: Winston in no way wowed anyone, but he didn’t botch the game either. Coming off a weak performance against the Carolina Panthers, Winston did ok. On 21 attempts he passed for 128 yards and two touchdowns, and no interceptions. To be fair he didn’t NEED to play amazing, with how poor the opposition was, but a solid performance by Winston could mean he is turning more consistent. Depending on next week’s performance, Winston may be turning a new leaf.
The Patriots Offense: Where to start with this performance? Mac Jones. He isn’t the problem, as he had shown plenty of flashes of greatness. He plays smart, shown good mobility, and is an exceptional leader. However, our play calling has limited him. Not to mention that our offensive line, star-studded as it is, has not provided the young QB a lot of protection. There has been a lot of calls for Michael Onwenu to start at Tackle while Trent Brown is injured and put Ted Karrass in Onwenu’s place. This makes sense due to our tackle position being our Achilles heel. Heavy reliance on the run game can be a great thing, but if Damien Harris never pops off then you put more pressure on our pass game. The line couldn’t hold, Harris never got going, so we threw the ball 50 times in hopes that something would happen. 55% of Mac Jones’ throws were from behind the line of scrimmage up to 10 yards beyond the line. Only 11 shots beyond 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. If Harris never gets going, it seems McDaniels wishes to keep Jones on a leash until he needs him to play Hero ball.
The Saints’ Special Teams: Really the only thing wrong with the Saints was their special teams. Blake Gillikin made 5 punts on the day, but none landed within the 20-yard line. Aldrick Rosas attempted 2 field goals, missing both. Thankfully the offense and defense bailed them out, but they need to vastly improve their game so they don’t become a liability.