When the New England Patriots went into the offseason, there was one thing on there mind: defense, and they addressed it in the draft. The first six of their seven draft picks were spent on the defensive side, and things are starting to pan out for those picks early on. Rookies Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones are the reason this game was close. The two only combined for six total tackles, but their constant pass rush on Kevin Kolb was incredible. Jones single-handily effected every play one drive. Also, rookie safety Tavon Wilson had another solid outing playing the pass. If the Patriots walk away with anything from this lackadaisical effort, it’s that their defense will be good for years to come with these players.
Also with five receptions, Wes Welker passed Patriots receiver Troy Brown for most receptions (562) in franchise history.
This team’s offense has had worse outings, but this one particular game looked as if they didn’t know their identity once tight end Aaron Hernandez left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. It was reminiscent of when Wes Welker was injured in Week 17 and the Patriots looked clueless in the playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. The offensive live couldn’t keep Brady protected. They tried to run in situations where they were accustomed to passing last year. When they did pass, there wasn’t much separation from the receivers.
Another “bad” was how Julian Edelman started the game as the second receiver after Brandon Lloyd thus making Welker the third receiver. According to ESPNBoston.com, Edelman played in 75 snaps while Welker played in 63. I don’t want to call it his fall from grace, but more and more it seems that the Patriots are attempting to move away from Wes being a focal point in the offense with this contract expiring in the offseason. There is no doubt who is the better receiver between Edelman and Welker. All you have to do is ask yourself how many snaps would Welker have played hadn’t Aaron Hernandez got injured. At the end of the day, Welker ended the game with five receptions and 95 yards. Edelman had five receptions and 50 yards. This will be an interesting story line to keep up with for the rest of the season.
It was noted that this is the first home game opener that a) Tom Brady has lost as a quarterback and b) the Patriots have loss since opening up Gilette stadium in 2001.
There were two huge “uglies” that came from this game:
1) Julian Edelman had a decent day in spite that he fell on Aaron Hernandez’s leg at the beginning of the game forcing Hernandez to miss the rest of the game. The good news is that the MRI said the ankle isn’t broken, but he’s probably looking at a high-ankle sprain which may keep him out for a few weeks. He’s the focal point of this offense and it’ll be interesting to see how Josh McDaniels flips things in the coming weeks.
2) DANNY WOODHEAD SCORES TO WIN THE GAME FOR THE PATRIOTS. This would have probably been the headline had Rob Gronkowski not been cited for holding on the play. Had he not held, the nation would be speaking on something differently possibly. Instead they had to settle for the field goal and now they will be talking about this…
Prior to this kick, kicker Stephen Gostkowski had hit three field goals of 46 yards, 34 yards and 51 yards. This time he shanks a game-winning 42 yard field goal wide with virtually no time left on the clock. He hits this, the Pats walk away with a solid victory… but things went the opposite way.