It’s not time to panic, and if the Patriots return David Andrews and Shack Mason sooner, the offense should improve. But Newton needs more receivers who can win one on one on the battle line. It would be nice if this team could add a hard end or receiver to the November 3 trading deadline.
▪ Where were Edelman and Harry? Edelman had two catches on six 8-yard goals, and his only real impact came in two 38-yard completions in the fourth quarter. This is the third week in a row that Edelman has caught three or fewer catches and less than 40 yards. The defense finds that if you take Edelman out of the game, the Patriots will not have much else to insult. McDaniels must find ways to get Edelman the ball.
And Harry didn̵7;t catch just two targets. Since his promising game in Seattle, Harry has only five catches for 55 yards in three games.
▪ Inaction for the last two weeks is not an excuse for patriots. The Titans also practiced little, and last week they hit the Bills and won Sunday. The Patriots looked rusty in attack, and the defense against running was sloppy. Add three turns, and for the Patriots it was not a memorable game. In two weeks of training, I expected the best from Bill Belichik and the coaching staff.
▪ It seemed strange at the time, but I don’t agree with Belichyk’s decision to go for 2 when he drops 9 points, when an extra point could make the game one point. With a lag of up to 15 you will have to walk 2 at least once. And if you’re not going to turn it on, it’s best to do so if you have eight minutes left on your watch. The Patriots still had plenty of time to return.
Asked if he considered it a challenge, Belichik replied: “No, not very much.”
But he did not explain why. Belichyk sighed at this.
▪ Patriots have significant problems with the offensive line, and they may not improve soon. In the second half, they played with three newcomers, and the only starter in his usual place was the fight with Isaiah Wynn. The Broncos received a consistent push and were always in the face of Newton, and the Patriots’ running defenders combined only 15 transfers for 41 yards.
Even Joe Tunie and Wynn, two veterans who lived on the line, had tough games. Wynn allowed the bag and missed the block, leading to a blocked pass and interception in the first quarter. And Tuni made a crazy shot, which ruined the promising goal drive in the first half.
▪ It didn’t help that Newton held on to the ball for too long. Of his four bags, three probably belong to Newton and his tendency to sit in his pocket for too long. But it didn’t seem like anyone was opening up in the field.
And for a defender who stands at a height of 6 feet and 5 inches, Newton is sure to get a lot of passes, beaten on the line of attack.
▪ Some hot and cold game in defense of patriots. They didn’t have to take shots until there were 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter. And they couldn’t get out of the field, allowing them to go 5:54, 5:01 and 9:07 in the second and third quarters.
But if you don’t allow a touchdown, and hold the other team for 18 points and 299 yards, and make two turns, and keep the opponent twice from the end zone in the red zone, that should be enough to win. In fact, the Patriots were 39-0 behind Belichik when they took another team out of the end zone. The Patriots’ defense was not the cause of their loss, but they needed to be great, not just good, to overcome poor offensive effectiveness.
▪ The Broncos clearly felt they could take advantage of their growth in the receiver against the corner Patriots. Their whole passing match was just Drew Locke throwing a bunch of bouncing balls. Tim Patrick came down with several big ones, including 35 yards on the third and 21st, and Albert Okwuegbunam had some pleasant hobbies (although he also dropped two confident landings).
But the Broncos were unable to get any real rhythm in the game when Locke made 10 of 24 assists in just 189 yards. And Locke’s risky throws finally caught up with him when Jackson Jackson and Jonathan Jones came up with an interception in the fourth quarter. Locke made a few big throws, but he definitely didn’t win the game.
Ben Wolin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin.