Patriots Rout Jags Ahead Of Bye Week

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The New England Patriots are 3-0. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise to people given the three opponents that they started the season with.

The latest foe to run into the Patriots buzz saw was the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite the Jaguars known struggles, they actually came into this game after a big win against the Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots start the season at 3-0 for the 5th time since 2001. They have now outscored the Jags 86-24 in their last two games in Foxboro, and scored points on all nine drives last Sunday.

In a blowout win like this there is not all that much to talk about. The two teams on the field were just on entirely different levels.

Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the keys to the Patriots third win:

Red Zone and 3rd Down: The Patriots had sizeable advantages all over the place, but maybe the biggest discrepancy was on 3rd down and inside the 20. The Pats converted on 11-14 (78.6%) of their 3rd down opportunities, and were 6-8 in the red zone (4 rush, 2 pass). The Patriots have a plethora of weapons in the red zone, but as the team demonstrated on Sunday sometimes the best approach is just to run the ball. At times, the Patriots appear to be getting too cute down near the goal line. Opting for low-percentage fade routes and other passing plays instead just running it in like they did against Jacksonville. The Jags were just 6-12 (50%) on third down and 1-2 in the red zone. That’s a staggering different.

Secondary On Allen Robinson: One of the strong points of this game from a defensive prospective was the group effort on Jacksonville’s talented young receiver Allen Robinson. Robinson went for 6 receptions, 155 yards, and 2 touchdowns against the Dolphins in Week 2. He had just 4 receptions for 68 yards against the Patriots. Furthermore, 57 of those receiving yards came on the Jaguars final drive of the game. It was a welcomed site for Patriots fans as Malcolm Butler stepped up a number of times in coverage on Robinson. He didn’t cover Robinson all the time, but when he did he was very effective against the Jags #1 wideout. Don’t chalk this up to it just being the Jags. Robinson is the real deal. Robinson picked on the entire Dolphins secondary in that matchup, including Pro Bowler Brent Grimes.

Devin McCourty: Following up on the praise for Butler, this was also the best game of the season for the Patriots best secondary player Devin McCourty. Obviously, D-Mac had a huge INT late in the 2nd quarter, but also played tremendously throughout the game. The Patriots ran a lot of cover 1 with McCourty as the lone safety up top. McCourty covers a lot of ground in the Patriots secondary, and prevented a number of big plays.

Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount: You will be hard-pressed to find a better backfield combination than Blount and Lewis. The Patriots have themselves a thunder and lightning duo with these two. Lewis has created 20 missed tackles as both a runner and a receiver, and Blount is one of the better running backs in terms of yards after contact. This makes the Patriots backfield really tough to stop and scheme for. They have one of the best bulldozers in Blount, and a rising scat back star in Dion Lewis. Lewis’ 8-yard TD scamper was the best of the four: http://tinyurl.com/pv3eh69

Bortles INT: The interception thrown by Blake Bortles at the end of the second quarter was the turning point in this game. The Jaguars had a 1st and 10 at the Patriots 45 yard line, and were driving down just 10. Bortles’ throw was into triple coverage and was well read by Devin McCourty (http://tinyurl.com/nf6uec5). The Jags had just one receiver in the area, and three Patriots really could have had a chance to pick it off. The INT really turned out to be a 10-point swing in the Patriots favor. Tom Brady threw his 400th career TD pass on the following offensive possession, and the Patriots received the second half kickoff eventually netting a field goal. Just like that the score went from 13-3 to 23-3, that’s game over. If Bortles doesn’t throw that interception it could have been a much different game.

Revenge Tour 2015: The Patriots will play down this narrative for the entire season, but putting up 51 points on the Jags was the latest stop on the “deflategate” revenge tour. The Pats opted to leave the starters in the game and pour it on the Jags in the second half. Up 44-10 in the 4th quarter not only was Brady in the game, but also he was still dropping back to pass. On the final drive of the game (excluding kneel downs) the Patriots went on a 17 play, nearly 10 minute drive that saw Brady throw the ball seven times. This game was decided with 9 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter when the Pats made the score 30-3, yet they went out there and scored 21 more points. If this trend continues, I think it’s safe to say that the Patriots are out for blood.

The Patriots now head into the early bye week after trouncing the Jags. Teams use the bye week for rest, and also for self-scouting.

Not having to prepare for an opponent, Patriots coaches and players can take the next few days to find areas they can improve. Then, it’s on to Dallas.

 

 

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