On a day when you’re going to hear a lot of “It ain’t always pretty” and “A win is a win on the road” it’s important to remember that the Patriots improved to 9-1 with their 17-10 win in Philadelphia Sunday. But, that game was uglier than a driver’s license picture taken on July 5th.
The Achilles heel of the Eagles this year had been their dreadful secondary, it sure didn’t look like it on Sunday. The Patriots couldn’t get anything going in terms of a vertical passing game. In fact most of the time that the Patriots “shot it deep” (trademark Gil Santos) the receiver wound up having to make a play to avoid an interception.
Mark me in the camp that the line will be better when Isaiah Wynn returns, and I feel more confident in that thought process than ever before and it has nothing to do with Tony Romo’s constant assuredness for 4 quarters. My new angle is that: ANYTHING would be better than Marshall Newhouse.
Is there anybody we can bring out of retirement? I saw Logan Mankins at the opener back in September, he looked pretty good. Max Lane played the right side, but I’d rather have an all-decade (1990’s) right tackle than Marshall Newhouse protecting Tommy’s blindside right now. Mercy sakes alive. If Wynn can merely stay healthy the line will get better. It simply has to.
It’s hard to gauge the performance of anybody on the offense, because it seemed like so few were even involved. Where has James White been? One of Brady’s most reliable 3rd down options has been missing for weeks. The only time he was used yesterday was on what I’ll call horizontal screen passes where the backs are running the line of scrimmage to the sideline, catching the ball and being tackled immediately. There’s just a lot that doesn’t look right about the offense right now.
Tom Brady had the most incompletions in a half during the first half in Philly. There’s no one thing to point to either, some were poorly thrown, some were rushed and some, as was the case with Jakobi Meyers, were just run the wrong way. Brady’s doesn’t look comfortable with his weapons right now and why should he? The only tight end he’s ever thrown to before this season is Ben Watson and their last completion was in 2009. Dorsett has been injured most of the year (and left Sunday’s game with a head injury sustained on his touchdown catch from Edelman) Harry & Meyers are rookies and Sanu has played 3 games in New England. Besides Edelman, none of these guys have been in the system long enough to build a knowledge of the offense. Jakobi Meyers the undrafted rookie has probably taken the second most snaps in New England of any pass catcher the Patriots suited up yesterday.
Let’s end on a high note. After a sluggish start (aided by a bananaland PI call on Jason McCourty for 49 yards, and handed the Eagles a field goal) the defense was absolutely lights out. The Eagles were without their top receivers, but they still had Ertz and Goedert, plus Agholor, so they weren’t in as rough of shape as some would lead you to believe.
The Patriots defense was terrific in coverage and applied pressure in the right situations, credit to Jerod Mayo and Stephen Belichick. The D perplexed Wentz the final 3 quarters. So much has changed in the last two years when Wentz was seen as a MVP in waiting and now boos are raining down on him at Lincoln Financial Field.
Bold prediction: Philly sports talk radio will be rife with talk that the Eagles should have kept Nick Foles and dealt Wentz. I can’t say I disagree.
9-1, tied for best record in the NFL and welcoming in Dallas next Sunday. That’ll be a fun one at Gillette.
By Sterling Pingree