Patriots stock up, stock down following Week 4 loss to Tom Brady, Bucs: Running game fails, Jones impresses

The New England Patriots welcomed again previous pal Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Gillette Stadium on Sunday and the 44-year-old quarterback confirmed that he still has a knack for winning even when he is not enjoying at his finest. The Bucs have been in a position to dangle onto a 19-17 victory in Week 4, transferring the Patriots to 1-3 on the season. Whereas there have been actually some positives to remove from this recreation for New England, shedding one other winnable recreation now places them in a relatively vital gap of their hopes to be enjoying significant video games afterward within the season. 

Earlier than we flip our consideration to Week 5 and the Houston Texans, let’s have a look again at this primetime matchup with the Buccaneers and take the temperature and see which method a handful of members of the Patriots are trending popping out up this showdown. 

With Tom Brady looming on the opposing sideline, Mac Jones turned in his best game as a pro. The primary spherical rookie accomplished 31 of his 40 passes on the night time for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He actually obtained right into a grove as the sport went on, finishing 19 consecutive passes at one level. Over that stretch, he threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Jones unfold the ball round nicely, finishing passes to 9 totally different Patriots (seven catching a number of passes). 

The rookie’s bread and butter continues to be within the brief passing recreation. In opposition to the Bucs, he accomplished 26 of his 31 makes an attempt for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Whereas throw 20-plus yards down the sphere are nonetheless a piece in progress, Jones was additionally efficient on his throws 10-19 yards deep, finishing 5 of 6 for 73 yards. 

He was additionally fairly calculated in the place he was attacking the Buccaneers secondary, which has been fairly banged up this season. Jones was fast to focus on Richard Sherman, who signed with the crew simply final week. Jones examined his inexperience within the Tampa Bay system and it proved to achieve success, finishing all eight of his throws in opposition to Sherman for 98 yards.

Inventory down: Patriots backfield

Not adequate. In any respect. 

New England’s operating recreation was not solely nonexistent, but it surely was a destructive in Sunday’s loss. On the bottom, the Patriots rushed for -1 yard, turning into simply the third crew within the Super Bowl period to complete a recreation with destructive yardage (h/t Mike Giardi of the NFL Network). The one optimistic dashing play on the night time got here courtesy of vast receiver Nelson Agholor. In the meantime, Damien Harris carried the ball 4 instances and logged -4 yards on the bottom. 

However that wasn’t the largest blow to the Patriots possibilities of profitable this recreation. That got here from operating again J.J. Taylor, who fumbled a cross from Jones. After forcing a three-and-out to start the second half, the Patriots had glorious discipline place and have been set to construct on their one-point lead, starting their drive on the Tampa Bay 38 yard line. They moved it 10 yards down the sphere earlier than Taylor coughed up the ball. 

Whereas the Buccaneers did not capitalize on their ensuing drive, this instantly took — on the very least — the chance at a discipline purpose try in what proved to be a two-point recreation. 

Matt Judon will not be solely the Patriots finest defensive participant, however he is tops anything the have on all the roster proper now. The skin linebacker continues to use stress on the quarterback, totaling 5 on the night time in opposition to Tampa Bay which included a sack in opposition to Tom Brady. He was the highest-graded defensive participant within the recreation, per PFF, and was a pillar in retaining the Buccaneers offense off-kilter all through the sport. 

Inventory down: Invoice Belichick

There was an absence of aggressiveness at instances all through this recreation that contributed to the loss. Two selections particularly by Belichick had direct implications in why New England did not come out on the profitable finish of this recreation in opposition to Tom Brady. The primary was proper earlier than halftime when the Patriots elected to punt the soccer as an alternative of making an attempt to go for it on fourth-and-2 on the Tampa Bay 44 yard line. Sure, you run the danger of handing the ball over to Brady and the Bucs at midfield, however the offense was transferring the ball nicely, scoring a landing on their earlier drive. After they punted it away, Tampa skipped down the sphere to kick a discipline purpose previous to the break and convey the Patriots lead all the way down to only one. 

The opposite questionable determination got here on the finish of the sport the place the Patriots once more did not attempt to transfer the chains on fourth down. Down two factors and fewer than a minute to play, New England was in a fourth-and-3 scenario on the Buccaneers 37-yard line. It was at that time the place Belichick despatched out kicker Nick Folk to aim a 56-yard fiend purpose in less-than-ideal circumstances because it was raining fairly exhausting in Foxborough on the time. People’s kick was no good and clinched the win for Tampa. 

Whereas hindsight is 20/20, these selections did not assist the Patriots possibilities on this one. 

Top off: Patriots tight ends

Each Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry bounced again after a tough go of it in Week 3 in opposition to the Saints. Each tight ends have been in a position to catch touchdowns from Mac Jones and hauled in seven of their 10 complete targets for 46 yards. Whereas they nonetheless have a methods to go in making this offense extra daunting for opposing defenses, this was a step in the precise route. 

Inventory down: Michael Owenu

The offensive line has been a rollercoaster for the Patriots to start the yr and left guard Michael Owenu was the newest to battle. He was seemingly benched for Ted Karras within the midst of this recreation after being flagged for 2 holding penalties early within the contest. Owenu additionally allowed one stress when he was on the sphere. This example might be price watching because the Patriots head into Week 5. Owenu has been one of many vivid spots alongside the O-line over the previous few years, so we’ll see if he can bounce again in opposition to Houston.

Jakobi Meyers was doing all of it on the market for the Patriots on Sunday night time. He led the crew in receiving, catching eight of his 12 targets for 70 yards and likewise accomplished each of his cross makes an attempt for 45 yards, which included a 30-yard cross to Nelson Agholor that helped arrange a Patriots discipline purpose. For his profession, Meyers has accomplished all 4 of his cross makes an attempt for 88 yards and two touchdowns. | Patriots refill, inventory down following Week 4 loss to Tom Brady, Bucs: Working recreation fails, Jones impresses


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