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Analyzing The Patriots Week Three 37-26 Loss

With week four just a day away, Pierce and I set out to fully analyze the Patriots’ offensive and defensive play against the against the Ravens.

Pierce: Offensive Recap

The main offensive takeaway I had from this game was that the Patriot’s offense has the potential to be incredible. The only thing that is holding them back from immediate success is play calling and decision-making by Mac Jones. Here are some examples of that being shown in Sunday’s game.

Diving Into Patriots Footage

Playcalling

I had strong belief in Matt Patricia at the beginning of the season. I was sure that since he is a football-smart guy, he’d be able to figure things out and bring quick success to the Patriots. Unfortunately, my predictions were not met. Matt Patricia’s management of the offense and play calling has been painfully bad.

During the opening drive of the game on third and seven, Matt Patricia elected to call an all-go’s route combination despite the Ravens defense clearly running a defense that could easily thwart this. As seen in the Tweet below, this play call from Patricia resulted in Mac getting sacked to end the drive.


What a call by Matt Patricia. This is on third and long and he elected to call triple-go’s. He needs to be fired. pic.twitter.com/R62q3ocrSn — Gabriel Pope (@UrPatsFan) September 27, 2022

Matt Patricia’s offense also lacks sophistication and complexity. Taylor Kyles, an excellent film researcher on Twitter (you can follow him @tkyles39), spotted a recurring theme among the Patriots red zone offense. If the Packers have any logic at all, they will be able to completely dominate the Patriots inside the 20 if Patricia continues to abuse this flat concept.


They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, [you know exactly what's coming] every time. pic.twitter.com/agj8to2vKt — Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) September 26, 2022

Key Players

Football is a game where all eleven on the field have to be on the same page for the play to work. Despite there being a high number of offensive players that have been standouts through the first three games, the lack of productivity from others on that Patriots’ offensive line has been holding the entire offense back.

Up to this point, my pick for the biggest standout on offense has been rookie Cole Strange. In 111 pass blocking snaps taken, Strange has only allowed one sack. Strange’s game against the Ravens was a statement to all of the people who doubted him at the beginning of the season. I don’t have footage from the Baltimore game, but take a look at how Cole Strange played against the Steelers in Week Two.


I clearly remember when we were clowned for taking Cole Strange in the first round. This is *ROOKIE* Cole Strange agains the Steelers today.pic.twitter.com/rK8sa9mXiy — Pierce J. Downey (@patsdowney) September 19, 2022

Skill position-wise, Rhamondre Stevenson has been exceptional for the Patriots despite his low number of carries. For the entire season, Stevenson is averaging exactly five yards a carry. Last week, however, Stevenson took a leap and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Stevenson has been the only player on the Patriots offense that has taken a notable leap in their second year.

What Should We Expect in Green Bay?

With Brian Hoyer getting the rock for Sunday’s game, fans shouldn’t be expecting any productive offense at all since Mac Jones is out. The majority of plays will be running plays or short-passes that favor easy yardage rather than deep-ball risks.

Aaron Rodgers vs. Brian Hoyer isn’t the matchup we expected to see, but the Patriots are going to have to make it work. The good news about this situation is that the Patriots have been gameplanning for Brian Hoyer to be quarterback throughout the entire week. Whatever result Hoyer produces on offense will be the best one the coaching staff could muster in the small week they had to prepare.

Gabriel: Defensive Recap

The New England Patriots defense this season, against almost all the odds, has been a pleasant surprise. Though the defense let up 37 points against the Lamar Jackson MVP offense, the defense played solid for a majority of the game. The most outstanding pl

Looking at the numbers, the Patriots defense is far exceeding the preseason expectations formed against them. After three games, the defense is somewhere in the middle-ground:

  1. 11th in Total Yards Allowed Per Game (314.7)

  2. 8th in Passing Yards Allowed Per Game (200.0)

  3. 19th in Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game (114.7)

With 11 sacks, the defense is tied for fifth most in football history. They have consistently applied pressure to opposing quarterbacks 28 times, which is about average, but it works out to a 26 percent pressure rate. When compared to some teams, like the Chargers and Falcons, who can hardly do it 15% of the time, heating up the quarterback around every 4 passing downs is quite legitimate.

Playcalling

Against the Ravens we saw a majority of one deep safety and cornerback man coverage. The rest of the defensive calls were split between cover four with three linebackers or a red zone blitz that featured the outside linebackers blitzing into the B gap. The majority of the blitzes occurred in the red zone and were best utilized in containing Lamar Jackson’s pocket scrambling. Though the cornerbacks and safeties played solid throughout the entirety of the game, there remained two problems: Covering the flats Sprinting to the Ball. Too many times was Jackson able to throw an easy checkdown or tight end quick flat. I get that Belichick and the rest of the defensive team was trying to mitigate the effects of the Raven’s receiving core, but I wish that they’d paid more attention to Raven’s TE Mark Andrews. He led the Raven’s in passing yards, 89 total, and had two touchdowns. Additionally, the linebacker coverage could have been better. When the Raven’s pounded the ball up the middle and brought offensive linemen to the lead block, there would be times when a linebacker would be kicked out. This would cause a whole to open for Lamar or the running back.

Key Players

Jackson has proved to be a difficult player to contain for nearly every squad he’s played. This was no exception for his matchup against the Patriots, in which he constantly scrambled out and avoided sacks using his generational speed that has changed the entire NFL. Some players, however, made Jackson work a lot harder for his success.

On the defensive side of the ball, my two picks for Patriots defensive player(s) of the game would have to be Deatritch Wise Jr. and Jonathan Jones. Both players displayed incredible performance throughout the game and were key factors in limiting the Raven’s score.

Wise finished with three sacks and six tackles. He was able to smash his way past Ravens’ left tackle, Ronnie Stanley, who was unable to contain Wise’s aggressive bull rush approach. This allowed Wise to put significant pressure on Lamar Jackson. His most remarkable performance came in the first half, when he recorded all three of his sacks, but he continued to exert pressure on the offensive line throughout the game.

7th year cornerback Jonathan Jones also had an impressive performance against the Ravens. The receivers facing Jones only managed 15 yards on one reception, underlining Jones’ extraordinary ability to remove his target or zone from the game. Jones also showed excellent speed and agility, making four key tackles and, most impressively, an interception on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jones forced a fumble to cap off an excellent performance on Sunday. Jones appears to comprehend the current defensive tactics of cover four and man coverage well and can read a receiver with veteran-like accuracy. Jones is PFF’s highest rated cornerback throughout the first three weeks.

What Should We Expect in Green Bay?

While the Patriots run defense has struggled so far, ranking 31st for EPA-per-rush allowed, the pass protection has been considerably solid. Packers running backAaron Jones has excelled this season, despite Green Bay’s running game having a fairly average game against Tampa and a dominant game against Chicago. He actually leads the NFL in the proportion of carries where he gains more yardage than projected, and he ranks third in the NFL in terms of running yards gained per attempt over expectations. It’s probable that the game plan will mainly rely on the Packers’ two-headed backfield because New England’s defense appears to be weaker up front. In order for the Patriots to be successful against the Packers, they will need to pay close attention to the inside run and potential receiver threats of Romeo Doubs and Randall Cobb.

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