After roughly three times of being rescheduled by the NFL, the Patriots and Broncos finally took the field to face off for what was supposed to be their Week 5 match-up after multiple positive tests from the Patriots last two weeks.
In all fairness, the preparation time for this games was completely off. The Broncos had roughly eight full practices in two weeks to prepare for New England, compared to just two formal padded practices for the Patriots in the last couple of weeks as the Pats facility was shutdown by the league due to their positive COVID tests. It showed badly Sunday against Denver.
It was an extremely odd game for the Patriots on both sides of the football. The Pats had a tough time defending the run and allowed Denver to move the ball up and down the field with ease. You figure Denver scored at least three touchdowns. Well, the did score, but Denver did not find the end zone at all throughout the entire game. Broncos kicker Brandon McManus converted for six field goals, which all of Denver's scoring in the game.
Fair to say it was an odd day for the defense. They did allow the Broncos run the ball with ease and Broncos' quarterback Drew Lock for the most part throw the ball decently, but the Patriots defense buckled down in the red zone and did not allow the Broncos to score a single touchdown.
Things can't be said the same way for the offense which struggled for the entire game to move the ball in key situations. Cam Newton's two interceptions didn't end up costing the Patriots as much in the game but they would come back to haunt the Patriots. Speaking of Newton, he didn't have much of a pocket to work with and early got the chance to move around as the offensive line broke down multiple times allowing Newton to be sacked four times and taking a hit on multiple occasions.
Isiaha Winn was in the left tackle spot for the Patriots during the game as it was a make shift offensive line. Winn played some left tackle last season and struggled. Those struggles continued Sunday and a majority of the rushes came form Winn's side and he had no answer for the Broncos pass rush. The Patriots offense had an extremely difficult time moving the football, only scoring three points through the first three in a half quarters of the game.
The offense finally broke through for a touchdown as Newton broke the plane of the goal line for the rushing touchdown, Pats went for the two-point conversion and failed. After a Lock interception, the Patriots managed to get a field goal to make it a six point game. Another Lock interception the next Denver drive, the Patriots had a chance with the clock on their side. Got the ball to the Denver 38 yard line, but couldn't do much more as Denver locked down an escaped New England with a win.
This raises the question. Should we be concerned with for the Patriots the rest of the way? The Patriots currently sit at 2-3, their worst mark after five games since the 2002 season. Yes a man by the name of TOM BRADY was the starting quarterback for that team. We all know, that the Patriots finished that season 9-7 and ended up missing the playoffs.
This is a different Patriots group, now we can make all the excuses we want that the Patriots spent very little time in their own facility in order to properly prepare themselves for this game, which is true and fair use to make. However, this is back-to-back games in which the Patriots offense has struggled to move the ball and capitalize on opportunities. Granted, in the game against Kansas City, it was a combined effort from both Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, each of whom did not take a first team rep prior to that game.
Either way, the Patriots are having a difficult time moving the ball down the field and keeping the opposing teams offense on the sideline. The Patriots defense has kept the Patriots in it for each of the last two games, but the defense has some faults as well. Not being able to get off the field on third down consistently doesn't help much, and causing some key and timely turnovers would help this team drastically.
For a defense that was statically the best in the NFL last season, they are far from that kind of defense this year. Again that has a lot to do with guys departing via free agency and others opting out of the season due to the pandemic. Not saying it is time to push the panic button just yet for the Patriots but some alarms should be sounding that this years quest for a seventh Lombardi Trophy is going rather difficult and the Pats may have to do it without the benefit of a home playoff game (depending if NFL decides not to go into a playoff bubble).
The Patriots still have 11 games to go on the season so it's not do or die time just yet, still plenty of time to figure things out. However, with some extra competition in the NFL this season with both the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns getting off to fast starts this season, the road to playoffs has gotten tough.
Buckle up Pats fans, it's going to be bumpy ride to the finish.