Last night, the Patriots were able to down the Indianapolis Colts in what everyone thought would be an epic blowout and grudge match for the aforementioned team's role in Deflategate. To start the game, the Colts were moving the ball pretty well. Andrew Luck was finding open receivers, specifically TY Hilton, and had a solid running game led by newly acquired ex-49ers star Frank Gore. The Patriots secondary was having trouble keeping up with the Colts speedy receivers and could not get any pressure on Andrew Luck, as he had all day to throw the football and go through his progressions.
Offensively, the first half was up and down for the high-powered New England offense. Tom Brady, as always, was playing at an extremely high level as he was moving around in the pocket to buy a couple extra seconds and find the open receiver. Surprisingly, the Patriots went away from the running game and almost exclusively threw the ball in the first half. Unfortunately, Patriot receivers were dropping balls left and right, which is something that Belichick will have to address before they play an even better defense in the Jets next week.
Going into the half, the Patriots were down 21-20 and the Colts were getting ready to raise another banner.
Thankfully for the Pats, Matt Patricia drew up a new defensive scheme, which was extremely effective for the rest of the game. Luck was unable to get the ball out quick enough and the Patriots secondary stepped up. A highlight of the game, aside from the infamous botched fake punt, was the play of Jamie Collins. He was dropping back into coverage, blitzing through the A gap like you read about, and leaping over lineman to block PATs.
However, the game was very unconvincing and a disappointment for those expecting a blowout. The Patriots had trouble moving the ball in the 4th quarter, and it was noticeable how upset Brady was at the end of the game and in his postgame press conference. Since their Week 4 Bye, the Patriots have struggled to move the ball to seal a game, even though they have scored 64 points in the last two games. The Patriots will need to make some changes moving forward, as I am starting to wonder if this team is as good as we all previously thought.
There is no question in my mind that they will be able to get out of the AFC as currently constructed, but they need to focus on getting healthy and acquiring another defensive back before the trade deadline to take that next step.
Next stop, Darrell Revis and the Jets. Another emotional game? Don't count on it.