New England Patriots Game Review Week 3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady – New England Patriots

We missed last week, but we are back for this week and every week after. The Patriots were dominant against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers as they took them down by a score of 23-3.

In classic Patriots fashion, they gave up a good amount of yardage, but only allowed a startling 3 points. This defense has top ten potential and it is showing it. Also, a fact to keep in you mind for the future, this defense has not allowed a single point in the 4th quarter. Here are the grades.

 

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady looked to be a little more comfortable with his receivers, but it did help that they actually caught the ball. Brady was 25-36 for 225 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. This is his best performance so far and it just seemed that the offense started to flow a lot better in this game.

It also boosts the teams confidence because they did it against a very talented defense led by Darrelle Revis. If they can keep this up, this offense will be back to its usual dominant form in no time.

Overall QB Grade: B+

 

Running Backs

In this game, the big performer was Brandon Bolden. In his first game of the season, he had a combined 100 yards from scrimmage and looked as explosive as he did last year before he was suspended. One point of worry seems to be the status of starting RB Stevan Ridley.

He seems to be in Bill Belichick’s doghouse and going off of past experiences, he could be there for a while. Eventually, he will have a breakout game and be trusted again, but don’t expect that to happen in the next 1-2 weeks. Also, Legarrette Blount led the team in carries.

He’s a good player yes, but he shouldn’t be leading the team in carries and we should start to see him lose carries to Bolden and Ridley in the coming weeks.

Overall RB Grade: B-

 

Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends

For the people who didn’t panic after last game, the performance of the young guys was no surprise. Last week, they were constantly getting open only to see it go to waste as many throws were off and they were dropping a lot of catches. This week though, we saw what can happen when they catch the ball.

The rookies were extremely effective this week as Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson combined for 10 catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns and 17 targets which is double the amount of catches than last week on the same amount of targets.

They still need to improve though as after they catch the ball there is a lack of yards after the catch, but that should come in time. IN the meantime, just seeing them catch the ball is a great sign for the future.

Overall WR/TE Grades: A

 

Offensive Line

This was the one point of weakness in this game. Sebastian Vollmer went down with an injury and Marcus Cannon filled in and was just ok. Vollmer has played excellent this year as according to ESPN, he hasn’t allowed a single sack or quarterback hit so if he is hurt for a long time then it could prove costly.

Logan Mankins and Nate Solder played well, but Center Ryan Wendell and Guard Dan Connolly were getting beat all day. Gerald McCoy was dominating them and the Bucs were constantly running stunts up the middle and they were working as 2 of the 3 sacks came from a rush up the middle.

This will have to improve as teams like the Texans and the Ravens, who blitz up the middle constantly, will dominate this line and create a lot of problems.

Overall OL Grade: C+

 

Defensive Line

This front four is lethal and it proved it again this week. This line was wreaking havoc all day and got another 3 sacks. Chandler Jones was credited with a sack and Tommy Kelly and Rob Ninkovich, who was just given a new 3 year $15 million deal, were each given a half a sack and Jerod Mayo also got one with a great blitz up the middle.

Along with being a problem in the pass game, they held Pro-Bowl RB Doug Martin to just 88 yards on 20 carries. He did have a good amount of yards, but his longest run was only 11 yards so they really tried to put the clamp down on any big runs and succeeded. Look for this DL to just keep getting better and for Chandler Jones to continue to lead the team in sacks.

Overall DL Grade: A-

 

Linebackers

Another solid game for the most consistent part of this team. They go into every game and do what is expected of them. Jerod Mayo led the team in tackles and also recorded a sack. Brandon Spikes and Donta Hightower were fantastic in the running game including a very nice stop on a fourth down run.

The one thing to watch is the snap count for Dane Fletcher as we have really only seen him on special teams. This may have to do with how effective the starting 3 have been, but he is a good player and I think we will start to see him get more snaps.

Overall LB Grade: A

 

Defensive Backs

That trade for Aqib Talib is looking pretty fantastic right about now. Not only did he record an interception, he shut down Vincent Jackson until the receiver went down with an injury. He held the #1 receiver to just 3 catches on 6 targets for 34 yards. This is exactly what the Patriots brought him in to do and he has been playing great these first 3 games.

The one point of worry was the matchup on the other side between Mike Williams  and Alfonzo Dennard. Williams has a huge height advantage over Dennard and they were exploiting it all game until he was also hampered by an injury. Overall, this secondary didn’t allow a play over 30 yards and didn’t allow any touchdowns.

They have a big challenge next week against the Falcons and will go up against Julio Jones and Roddy White. It will be interesting to see the match ups in that game as this will be the defenses toughest challenge yet.

Overall CB Grade: A-

 

Special Teams

Stephen Gostkowski seems to be back to his usual self as he hit 3 field goals this week and they were right down the middle. There were problems coming into this year as questions of his confidence crept up due to his preseason struggles.

Clearly, those are in the past and he should be back to being on of the best kickers in the league. Ryan Allen had one bad punt and then after that was consistently good. Hopefully, this streak continues.

Overall ST Grade: B+

 

That’s it for this week. Follow me on twitter @MLBN_Hrube. I’ll have next weeks grades up after their game vs. the Falcons on Sunday Night!