Game Review: at Patriots – 2018 Week 9

Well, that was… interesting. It was a great three quarters of football, then… ugh. Let’s get into the key points.

12v12

I’m gonna go ahead and say neither QB impressed me this game. I think it’s safe to say their best days are behind both of them. It’s sad. I’m not insulting anyone, these dudes are old, it’s just sad for fans of football that these guys won’t be doing what they used to any more. They 2014 tilt had both of these guys in their prime and it was beautiful.

This one looked like two greats that are past their prime, one looking to trick plays and the running game to move the ball and the other looking impotent between a few nice and a couple amazing throws.

My opinion of Brady hasn’t changed, especially at this point in his career. Reverses, flea-flickers, double-passes – sure the Patriots have a good offense, but let’s not kid ourselves and pretend that Brady was impressive. His one touchdown pass came on a play that where own receivers weren’t sure who the target was and a huge missed tackle was the only reason their was a score. Trick plays

Rodgers had a couple big time throws including that huge third down play to MVS. He also had some good throws, like the TD to Graham, which could have been a half yard out more, but was still a good throw. He also made some nifty plays, like the dance around TD to Adams. But those plays came between a lot of Brett Hundley looking stuff. He wasn’t all that great on the whole, certainly not up to the standard that I expect out of him, but he was by far he better 12 on the field tonight. This was not the 12 of old that could – and would – whip the ball into any hole, no matter how small.

Rodgers is the GOAT, he’s just no longer at the level he once was. Maybe it was the injury and he will return to form… but at his age, I’m not betting on it.

The NFL Should Stop Making Rules

That Jermaine Whitehead penalty was warranted – even if it was after he was grabbed, pulled, then shoved first, but there is no way in the world that should be an ejection. That shouldn’t be ejection in two hand touch football. It’s really over the top and ridiculous. The worst thing, to me, was that if that was worth an ejection, then you have to call a running leading with the helmet on Cordarrelle Patterson’s touchdown run before the half (even though that’s a stupid ridiculous rule, but hey, if you’re gonna be stupid and ridiculous, go all in).

Then the roughing the punter!? It was 4th and 21. There was incidental contact that the player was clearly trying to avoid, that resulted in no injury… 15 yards and an automatic first. Terrible. It really feels like any time a Packer touches someone, it’s a penalty.

It’s terrible.

I always scoffed at the crowd that said “Ugh, it’s gonna be flag football.” Well… I feel ya now.

That D

The D played pretty well, especially through three quarters. 10 points in the first half? 17 through three quarters?

That’s pretty good against a team like this.

For a stretch in the second half, they looked like no Packers D I’ve ever seen.

They made an amazing goal line stand, stonewalling 4 attempts from the 1 yard line, which is damn near impossible. Forget that they had stopped the offense already before a penalty moved it to the 1. Then the Packers offense again went nowhere, with a punt giving the Patriots the ball just outside field goal range. The Packers forced a 4th and 21 punt, which they got absolutely hosed on with a weak #ss penalty (but we covered that above), giving the Patriots another chance and the Packers D stopped them AGAIN.

That was something we haven’t seen in the better part of a decade, let alone against an offense of this level.

After a trick play got the Pats close, the D almost came up with another goal line stand.

I don’t fault them for finally breaking down. The rules just don’t allow defenses to be as good as they used to. And this is a great offense.

But, man am I impressed by what Pettine has done. The pressure came from all over and the back end coverage held up. That all came with a lot of replacement parts. If the new head coach keeps him on as defensive coordinator, this defense could be a top 10 unit next year. Hit on the draft, pick up a free agent, and it could be top 5.

That O

Bill Belichick schemed to take away Adams and Graham… and it worked out ok. They each scored, but they combined for less than 100 yards.

The offensive line did a solid job with backups on the right side (which I didn’t think was possible) and they have a set of skill position players that can run with anyone in the league, in an era that makes it so easy on offenses.

So why didn’t they move it?

Sure, the Patriots defense played well, but really, I think the the issue is at QB. This team depends on the QB more than any other team. They don’t call all the trick plays their opponents call, and they don’t give it to a dude averaging 6 yards a carry – it’s up to the QB.

He’s not getting it done by himself.

It may be a lingering issue with the injury or it may just be that he hasn’t adjusted his game to his aging body. I still think he’s one of the best in the league, but they may be depending on him too much.

MVS

When I saw his numbers (6’4″ 4.37) coming out of college, I thought he was another Jeff Janis.

Nnnnnope.

He looks like a guy who can use his skills to put something together. He seems to have earned the trust of Aaron Rodgers, which is the hardest part of playing wide receiver for the Packers (and one of the big things Janis failed at) and it is showing in his production. When Belichick starts rolling coverage your way, you know you’re doing good.

He’s looking like a breakout player.

Question of the Week

This week on our Twitter question of the week, we asked:

How many passing yards will Rodgers and Brady combine for on Sunday night?

The final tally was 553. The closest numeric guess was @andrewp_wi with 675 (showing how much everyone was expecting a shootout), but I think the nod for first this year goes to @nickeaster19, who guessed “under 500”

Self Grading

A look at how we did with our predictions in the pregame review:

Aaron Jones gets a season high in carries Yup, fans must have loved this… but maybe it was one carry too many…
MVS comes up big (much like Davante Adams did as a rookie in 2014) Oh he sure did. This guy is legit and on his way to big things.
David Bakhtiari stonewalls Adrian Clayborn Mostly.

Jaire Alexander gets a couple pass breakups Man, I feel like I could make this prediction every week and hit on it.
The Packers are held sackless against Tom Brady’s quick release No – the defense really exceeded my expectations here; I commend them and their two sacks.
Tramon Williams moves to safety and his replacement (be it Jackson or Breeland) gets picked on Yeah, Breeland wasn’t hot tonight – but Tramon looked good at safety.

A Packer returner busts a kickoff return for at least 30 yards No, but I wasn’t expecting Breeland to be the one returning kicks

Packers 27, Patriots 31 It might have been something like this if they didn’t have a critical fumble in the 4th quarter… again.

 

This loss hurts. Mostly because they were driving in the 4th with a tie game and a whole bunch of momentum… and fumbled it away.

Just like last week, they basically lost the game with a late turnover when they had a chance to take control of the game.

Buckle up, it’s looking like a bumpy ride for the home stretch.

 

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