Patriots Castrate Titans

That was a classical mythology reference, for anyone paying attention. Well, that was a blowout if I ever saw one. New England put up 59 points to the Titans’ zero, and but that doesn’t even tell half the story. Tom Brady set a new record for completed TD passes in a quarter and matched or beat several personal and franchise offensive records, including total yardage and total points. Against a secondary that looked confused and incompetent, Brady pretty much had free reign to throw to anyone at any time. The offensive line did it’s job and protected the QB. Even the running game was on point, as Laurence Maroney, despite the snow, ran for over 100 yards and a TD. This was the most complete offensive effort I’ve seen from the Patriots in quite awhile, easily in the last 2 years.

Defensively, a combination of factors contributed to the shutout, but I’m not so sure the defense should get too much credit for this victory. First off, it was snowy and slippery. It’s more a testament to the skill of our wide receivers that we didn’t drop the ball very much than it is a testament to our defense that the Titans did. They dropped a ton of balls, but they WERE getting open. Overall, that offense played sloppy. Kerry Collins is just not that good a quarterback. The wide receivers are nothing to write home about. And again, the ball was slippery. Where an excellent QB can excel in these conditions, a mediocre one will struggle. All while the defense forced several fumbles and interceptions, they did not record any sacks the entire game. They also gave up nearly 200 yards in rushing to the Titans. I recognize how hard it is to stop the run in the snow, but the defense has to get better if they want to contend with decent teams.

So what do we take away from this game? Well to begin with, we know that the Patriots can play in difficult weather conditions. As we move towards November and December, those conditions will become more and more the norm, so that’s a relief. We also know that the Patriots wide receivers are smart and know how to exploit weaknesses in opponents’ secondaries. Tom Brady is getting healthier, and we know that he hasn’t lost his touch. He can still throw the short ball and the deep ball, and he is still as mobile and able to dodge tackles as he ever was. With the new rules in place protecting quarterbacks, he will continue to get better. And that’s a little bit scary.

We also know that the defensive unit can handle opposing quarterbacks. They got plenty of pressure on Collins and Young, even if they failed to record a sack. Our cornerbacks did fine, picking off 2 errant passes for interceptions. And it’s only natural to let up a bit on stopping the run when you’re up by 45 points after just a half. So we can let that slide. Next week, the Pats play against another terrible team in Tampa Bay. Hopefully they can continue to build on this victory and build momentum as we head into the second half of the season.

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