A very underwhelming, and at times frustrating, Week One is in the books. Let’s take a look at who popped and who flopped in Miami on Sunday.
Dugger was the top dog for Pats on Sunday. The third year safety was ALL over the field, stifling the Dolphins on numerous occasions while limiting Miami to just 13 offensive points. Dugger’s final stat line Sunday included six total tackles, two for a loss, including this during a Dolphin drive in the second quarter.
Kyle Dugger read this play like a book. He’s had a great start to this game. pic.twitter.com/bxpY0LHTy8— Aidan Maher (@Aidan_Maher17) September 11, 2022
Fresh off being named a team captain for the first time, the twenty-six year old linebacker tallied a team-high 7 tackles Sunday. Linebacker was a big question mark heading into the season, but the high-level play from Bentley against Miami should help to quell those concerns for the time being.
Judon provided much of the Patriots pass rush in Sunday’s loss, registering a sack and four quarterback hits on Tua, including this near-sack in the fourth quarter.
Matt Judon nearly gets the sack on Tua pic.twitter.com/HtLMq5i58P— 𝗙𝗢𝗟𝗟𝗢𝗪 @𝗙𝗧𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗱𝟳 (@FTBeard7) September 11, 2022
A After a hot start last season (12.5 sacks through 13 games), Judon really cooled off down the stretch (0 sacks in last 4 games and postseason). He needs to consistently get to the quarterback throughout the season. If he can, he’ll do wonders to help out the secondary. The Pats defensive backfield has a lot of holes that good opposing offenses can exploit.
Belichick was out-coached on Sunday by Mike McDaniel, who was making his NFL head coaching debut. His team was undisciplined, turning the ball over three times to Miami’s zero. While the Dolphins were pulling out all the stops on offense, including some exciting misdirection jet-sweeps to keep the Patriots off-balance, Belichick opted for a more conservative approach. Belichick’s biggest blunder of the day had to be his inexplicable benching of last year’s top receiver Kendrick Bourne. The sixth year wideout is coming off a season where he set career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns while becoming Mac Jones’ favorite target. After an up-and-down preseason, Bourne played just two offensive snaps on Sunday. He recorded a single catch for 41 yards on his lone target.
When Kendrick Bourne is on the field, good things happen for the Patriots. They need his ability as a playmaker & the energy he brings.— GameDay Andrew (@Patriots_Andrew) September 12, 2022
He played 2 snaps yesterday & this was 1 of them. Not sure what’s going on with him but the Patriots need him out therepic.twitter.com/JISyoBSklQ
Regardless of whatever rift is happening between Bourne and Belichick, he clearly provided a spark when the Patriots needed him most. After the stagnant offensive performance all afternoon, leaving Bourne on the sidelines was inexcusable. Bourne addressed the situation with the media postgame.
Kendrick Bourne said he isn’t sure why he isn’t getting more playing time but that he will be ready when his opportunity comes. pic.twitter.com/uQTMb3TWqi— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 11, 2022
My expectations were low going into Sunday, but I wasn’t prepared for how truly poorly the Patriots offense performed. To his credit, Patricia started off great. Prior to the interception tossed by Jones in the endzone, here was the Patriots offensive sequence to open the game.
- 9 yard completion
- 12 yard run
- 3 yard run
- 8 yard completion
- 8 yard run
- 2 yard run
- 11 yard completion
Not a single negative play. The Patriots looked fast, they looked cohesive, and they looked ready to play ball. The Jones interception (should have been pass interference) took the wind right out of their sails and they never recovered. After that first drive, there were too many stagnant drives that resulted in quick changes of possession. Cowardly play-calling, like a 2nd and 17 run up the middle for no gain in the second quarter, were frustrating calls to watch. However, Patricia’s most puzzling call of the day came on a 4th and 1 inside Miami territory during the 3rd quarter.
Mac Jones airs it out to DeVante Parker on 4th and 1 and Parker is unable to come down with it pic.twitter.com/cwkGZb5EnZ— Ben Brown 🌻 (@BenBrownPL) September 11, 2022
Down 17, I love the decision to go for it. The team needed some sign of life that a field goal attempt wouldn’t have provided. My issue is with the play call. The Patriots had struggled to run the ball pretty much all game (more on that later), but that’s the time to load the box and run a dive up the middle for a yard to keep the drive alive. Sending your best receiver on a seam down the middle for a homerun route was puzzling at best, but maddening at worst. Simply put, Patricia’s got to be better for the Patriots to have a shot going forward.
Last but certainly not least, the offensive line was putrid on Sunday. After a solid first drive that saw the Patriots pick up 25 yards rushing on four attempts, the remainder of the day left a lot to be desired. On their next 18 rushing attempts, the Patriots managed only 58 yards, which averages to be 2.9 yards per carry. Not good enough, simple and plain. The pass protection wasn’t much better either.
“Mac Jones had 3 seconds or more to throw on only 3 percent of his dropbacks— Savage (@SavageSports_) September 12, 2022
“the lowest in the NFL in Week 1.”
Fix the line, fix the offense.
Jones was under pressure all afternoon long, and took two sacks for a combined loss of 20 yards. The Patriots transition to a new zone-blocking scheme was the talk of training camp, and after three disappointing efforts in the preseason, the group laid another egg in the season debut.
For more Patriots content, be sure to follow me on Twitter @pthompths. And for NFL coverage all season long, check out our main account @GridironHeroics or our website gridironheroics.com
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