Monday, September 20, 2010
How the Patriots Failed their 10 keys to success
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Prior to the New England Patriots matchup against the New York Jets, I wrote up 10 keys to success for the Patriots.
One thing I overlooked: the Patriots needed to show up for both halves.
The first half ended with New England up 14-10, and although the lead was slight, it was a solid showing. Then the Patriots were a no-show in the second half.
The Jets outscored them 18-0 after the break, scoring a total of 21 unanswered points, and just completely dominated in front of the home fans.
Coming into the game, it was the Jets that people were concerned about coming to play. The Patriots, however, made them look like the Super Bowl contenders the Jets boast to be.
Here is an analysis of how the Patriots did in their 10 keys to success, and obviously it isn’t a pretty picture.
The Patriots Need To Prove They Can Win On The Road
Obviously, they failed here. There is no grey area.
Instead of showing a killer instinct, like during the years of their championship teams and the 16-0 regular season team, they once again were last year’s team, the squad that couldn’t close out the big games.
The Patriots allowed momentum to shift and the home crowd to get back into the game.
It’s going to be a long season for New England if they can’t close out games and they can’t win on the road.
The Running Game Needs To Step Up
Another absolute failure here.
Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis combined for 52 total yards rushing. Granted they only received 20 carries amongst the three of them, but that is absolutely horrible production. It isn’t production, actually.
New England’s leading rusher was Kevin Faulk, who amassed 22 yards on five carries.
Randy Moss Needs To Show Up
Randy Moss made a spectacular one-handed grab in front of Darrelle Revis, and ran the ball into the end-zone for a 34-yard score, the 150th touchdown reception of his career.
Revis pulled up lame and left the game with a hamstring injury. All was looking good here.
However, Moss had only one catch the rest of the game, even though he was targeted 10 times.
For the star receiver that is playing for a new contract, that isn’t good at all. Moss showed up for one play. It was certainly a magical play, but he needs to do way
more than that.
Wes Welker Needs To Continue His Incredible Comeback
An interesting note, six seemed to be Welker’s number of the day.
Welker got the Patriots on the board early in the game with a six-yard touchdown reception (for, of course, six points).
He hauled in six catches on the day. However, he averaged only six yards per catch (6.3 to be exact).
As a slot receiver, Welker is known for finding seams and running off big gains.
With Moss wrapped up the Jets could focus more attention on Welker.
The touchdown was nice, and first impression was that it would be another long day for the Jets, but Welker was pretty inactive the rest of the game.
The Secondary Needs To Step Up
Last week, Mark Sanchez completed only 47.6 percent of his passes for only 74 yards, had zero touchdowns, and received a ton of criticism from the media.
Against the Patriots, Sanchez completed 70 percent of his passes for 220 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
Darius Butler had an awful day, not only allowing two touchdowns, but was called for two pass interference calls on the Jets’ final touchdown drive.
It’s night and day really, and the secondary was constantly burned yesterday.
The Pass Rush Needs To Be More Present
The Patriots sacked Sanchez three times, which isn’t bad. But they didn’t pressure Sanchez enough.
The second-year quarterback actually picked up confidence as the game went on. No fumbles, no harried throws, no costly poor decisions.
Like the secondary, it isn’t entirely the pass rush’s fault. The defense as a unit didn’t do enough. They weren’t good enough.
However their offense didn’t pick them up.
What happened to Stephen Gostkowski?
Gostkowski missed another field goal Sunday, from 37 yards out, for his third miss of the season. The most he has missed was six in his rookie season. Now a veteran, Gostkowski is halfway there.
His inaccuracy cannot continue if the Patriots are to be a real contender.
Special Teams Boost
Brandon Tate’s Week 1 performance would have been tough to duplicate. He managed to return five kicks against the Jets for 123 yards, a 24.6 average. His longest was a 31-yard return.
Nothing special, but solid numbers. Tate was far from the problem in this game, but it looks like the team is going to need some big plays from him to energize them this season.
Utilize the Tight Ends
Aaron Hernandez is looking like a real steal.
Drafted in the fourth round, the rookie led the Patriots in receiving with six catches for 101 yards. It was the second consecutive game he had a catch for at least 45 yards.
He has good hands and runs with the ball well. He’s also only 20-years-old, so there is still a lot of room for improvement.
He was the lone bright spot for New England in this game.
Welker and Moss weren’t getting it done today; Brady should’ve played the hot hand more, especially before things got out of hand.
The Patriots were penalized six times for 79 yards, while the Jets were penalized six times for 58 yards. Not a big difference, but Darius Butler, who was getting beat all day, was called for two pass-interference penalties on New York’s final scoring drive.
The Patriots also turned the ball over three times, twice due to interceptions, as opposed to zero turnovers for the Jets.
New England lost its cool. They were winning, but couldn’t close it. They made bad decisions and panicked.
And they lost. It isn’t the end of the world, but it was not a good performance.