5 Takeaways for the Patriots After Big SNF Win over Bengals
While they couldn't silence the officials' whistles, the New England Patriots were able to silence even the most vociferous of critics as chants of "Brady, Brady" cascaded from the upper decks of Gillette Stadium. A 43-17 victory tends to heal even the biggest of wounds.
Bill Belichick postgame: "It wasn't perfect, but the players played hard and made a lot of plays against a good football team."— Oliver Thomas (@OliverBThomas) October 6, 2014
Patriots Veterans Still Resilient
This is the #Patriots' 9th straight win following a loss -- the team is 36-4 following a loss since 2003.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 6, 2014
Veterans like Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork wouldn't let that happen. On the sideline in the waning moments of the game, the two long-term Patriots shared a knowing exchange. These two keepers of the "Patriot Way" are still doing their job.
Look for the youngsters to keep buying in to what the veterans are selling.
Tom Brady Started the Fire
Tom Brady wouldn't let the New England Patriots lose. He started off with a fire in his eyes that showed the laser-focus that permeated the offensive first quarter. Two quick touchdowns—one off the arm of Brady—set the early tone of dominance.
Brady finished 23-of-35 for 292 yards and two touchdowns. He ran four times, gaining 13 yards and the respect of his offensive linemen for the toughness he displayed.
Brady's mechanics looked sound. His lead shoulder didn't fly open, and his plant step was in perfect rhythm. He was a little off on a few passes to Rob Gronkowski, but Brady didn't throw many uncatchable balls.
"12" Personnel Back in Vogue
After injuries and escapades decimated the tight end position the past two years, the "12" personnel package with one running back and two tight ends had fallen by the wayside. Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright brought it back with a vengeance.
A clearly emotional Rob Gronkowski: "We wanted to make Tom Brady look like Tom Brady tonight." Sounds like team wanted to get QB's back.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 6, 2014
Brady looked like Brady. Gronkowski looked like Gronkowski. Wright looked like Aaron Her-...well, Wright looked pretty good too.
Gronkowski tallied 100 yards and a touchdown on six catches and may have left another couple on the field. Wright totaled 85 yards and a score on five receptions.
As defenses look to combat the tight end seam route, look for the outside receivers to find more space to get open.
Darrelle Revis as Advertised
Although A.J. Green ended the day with four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown, he was shut down for the majority of the night by Darrelle Revis.
Seventeen yards and the touchdown came when Revis was getting checked for a hamstring issue—he returned later in the game. Another 19-yard gain was erased when Revis forced Green to fumble. A big chunk of yardage came on a fake screen play, where Green slipped by No. 24.
This was the first game that defensive coordinator Matt Patricia deployed Revis in "Cat" coverage, as in you cover this "Cat." Like Ty Law before him, Revis thrived in the spotlight and allowed the Patriots defense to stuff the run and give help to some of the other corners.
Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley Lower the Boom
Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined for 203 yards on 36 carries, battering through the porous Cincinnati Bengals defense for over five yards per crack. The success on the ground helped set up the passing attack, as the Bengals linebackers were taking false steps all over the place, confused at what offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was throwing at them.
One thing that the Patriots need to think about is some self-scouting. The Bengals seemed to be keying in on the substitution patterns of Ridley and Vereen. Continuing to mix up the pass when Ridley is in and the run when Vereen plays will be important to keep teams from learning their tendencies.
Sustaining success against the Buffalo Bills defensive line may be a tough task, as Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams are no easy task for an offensive line that is still in flux. Bryan Stork and company looked much improved against Cincinnati, but their mettle will be tested next week.
Stats and figures courtesy of NFL.com.