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Patriots vs. Bengals: Live Grades and Analysis for New England

Tom Brady and Co. were flummoxed by the Bengals defense.
Tom Brady and Co. were flummoxed by the Bengals defense.Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Sterling XieCorrespondent IIDecember 19, 2016

The New England Patriots are no longer undefeated, dropping an ugly 13-6 decision to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Check out final grades and analysis below.

Final

New England - 6

Cincinnati - 13

 

Game analysis for the New England Patriots

Pass Offense: For the first time in 52 games, Tom Brady did not throw a touchdown. The offense had absolutely nothing going all game—it’s not an understatement to say that everything in the passing game went wrong. Brady’s wobbly interception in the pouring rain was a fitting way to end an ugly loss.

Run Offense: The Patriots didn’t have much time of possession in the second half, and thus the run game was barely a factor. But when called upon, Blount could not drive in a touchdown on 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Could have used those extra points on the final drive.

Run Defense: All things considered, they performed about as well as you could possibly ask. Factor in Tommy Kelly’s absence, and the Pats run D was admirable. They gave Brady two chances at the end of the game, doing their job to extend the game.

Pass Defense: The Bengals never really challenged the Pats deep, a byproduct of another week of excellent one-on-one coverage from Aqib Talib. The only difference was that this time the offense could not scratch out enough to reward the defense.

Special Teams: Ryan Allen pinned the Bengals inside their 20 on numerous occasions, an important aspect in a field-position game. Unfortunately, the kick and punt return games did little to spark a moribund offense.

Coaching: Again, a good defensive game plan, especially considering the dearth of experience and bulk up the middle. Josh McDaniels tried to jumpstart the offense with more spread formations and some up-tempo play-calling, but today just was not meant to be for the Pats.

 

Tom Brady's touchdown streak is over, as is the Pats' undefeated record.
Tom Brady's touchdown streak is over, as is the Pats' undefeated record.Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

First-half analysis for the New England Patriots

Pass Offense: Two early sacks on play-action passes reflect how the Patriots are losing the battle at the the line of scrimmage. As a result, Tom Brady’s yards per attempt average sits at a horrifying 3.7. Things opened up a bit when the Patriots spread things out in the second quarter, but improving pass protection is a must.

Run Offense: LeGarrette Blount’s fumble mars what was an unspectacular but effective rush attack. Despite not having a run longer than 10 yards, the Pats still averaged a solid five yards per attempt. With the Patriots down to only two healthy backs, don’t expect Blount to sit because of his gaffe.

Run Defense: The Bengals sent an early message by challenging the Patriots with four straight runs to open the game. While the run defense has had a couple of shaky moments, it has held Cincinnati to 3.8 yards per attempt. Brandon Spikes has been particularly active, playing on nearly every snap.

Pass Defense: The Bengals offense has been a bit sporadic in its approach, switching between a two-tight end attack and a receiver-oriented passing game at the end of the half. Andy Dalton has a high completion percentage, but the Pats have done a good job of eliminating big plays.

Special Teams: Ryan Allen has been busy so far, punting five times in the first half. The kickoff return game hasn’t made much of a ripple, with Leon Washington and Devin McCourty each netting an unspectacular return.

Coaching: Give them credit for constructing a defensive game plan that has mitigated the loss of Vince Wilfork. However, the Patriots will need more creative offensive play-calling to crack a stingy Bengals defense.

 

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