Looking past the great victory and the last drive, there was a lot of things in this game that the Patriots will need to work on moving forward. One of the biggest things that stuck out to me was the play-calling late in the game, and this is two weeks in a row that Josh McDaniels has made some questionable decisions late in the game. The only difference this week is that Tom Brady bailed McDaniels out with an epic last-minute drive.
The Saints scored to make it a 24-23 and gave the Patriots the ball with about 3:30 left in the game. Being down one with that much time, there should be no panic on the side of the Patriots. They had been running all over the Saints, and Stevan Ridley finished with 98 yards and two TDs. He also averaged 4.8 yards per carry, and the team averaged 4.0 YPC.
Considering that success, with over three minutes left in the game and two time outs, the Patriots should have run the ball and controlled the clock. They only needed a field goal to win the game. McDaniels got away from the run and called some questionable plays for the second straight week. Brady set up in the shotgun for four plays and ended up turning the ball over on downs and gave the Saints the ball in great field position.
The defense came up big and kept the Saints to a field goal and gave the Patriots another chance.
Once again, Brady and the Patriots had another chance, only this time the Patriots needed a TD. There was still plenty of time to drive and win the game. On the first play, the Patriots took a shot downfield which resulted in an interception for Brady. We all know how the game ended, but there was no reason that it needed to be that close. The Patriots had plenty of opportunities to bleed the clock and get in great position to win the game when they were down one, and McDaniels got away from the run and was burnt for it again.
This will be completely overlooked due to the outcome of the game, but it is something that needs to be watched as the season goes on. McDaniels has made plenty of great calls, but he has struggled in the biggest part of the game in the last two weeks. He is just lucky that he has a great QB out there to bail him out when he makes mistakes.