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BOSTON (CBS) – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady put it best following his team’s 13-6 loss to the Bengals on Sunday.
“You can’t kick two field goals and expect to win many games in the NFL,” Brady said before adding, “It’s hard to drive the ball down the field when you’re always making mistakes.”
The mistakes by the Patriots’ offense came in bunches in Cincinnati, as New England dropped their first game of the season thanks to a dismal day by the offense. The defense played very well, but the Bengals were able to find the end zone, something the offense couldn’t do despite the defense giving them a few chances.
Here are the 4 Ups and 4 Downs from this one, starting with the downs:
Terrible Day By Offense
The Patriots didn’t get anything going on offense, and when they had their chances they failed to execute.
The Patriots were just 1-for-12 on third down and 0-for-1 in the red zone. They had two chances to find the end zone in the fourth quarter, but only managed three points.
The one chance the Pats had in the red zone, they squandered it in ugly fashion. Starting from the one-yard line, LeGarrette Blount was stuffed on first-and-goal, Brady’s back-shoulder pass to offensive lineman Nate Solder (if anyone knows what Josh McDaniels was thinking, please fill us in) fell harmlessly incomplete in the end zone, and Julian Edelman couldn’t hang on to a pass in the end zone on third down (mostly due to a very good defensive play by Terence Newman).
Edelman’s drop was a tough catch to make, but there were numerous other dropped passes by the Patriots’ receivers throughout the day. Mix in a Blount fumble in the second quarter that led to Cincinnati’s first three points of the game, and it was one of the worst days execution-wise by a Brady-led offense.
Off Day For Brady
Brady wasn’t his sharp self in this one, and there was no late-game magic for the future Hall of Famer.
The drops certainly hurt, but Brady was inconsistent as well. He finished just 18-for-38 for 197 yards, and badly under threw his last pass of the game, which fell into the hands of Adam Jones to seal the Pats’ fate.
With no touchdown passes in this one, Brady’s streak of 52-straight games with a TD comes to an end.
Tough Time On Offensive Line
Brady didn’t get much protection from a stout Cincinnati pass-rush, and when he wasn’t running for his life he was usually sitting on the ground.
The Bengals got to Brady four times and put another eight hits on him. It was a rough afternoon for Solder, who gave up two quick sacks in the first quarter.
Kelly Dinged Up
If the loss of Vince Wilfork wasn’t enough on the defensive side, Tommy Kelly left in the second half with a knee injury.
He fell to the ground after giving chase to a scrambling Andy Dalton, grabbing his right knee. He did return briefly, but then left for good, leaving the Pats with another the potential void on the defensive line.
Defense Stands Tall – Again
Once again, the Patriots defense did more than their part.
They kept the Patriots in the game despite the team’s horrendous offense, and gave Brady and Co. a golden opportunity to score after Devin McCourty forced a fourth quarter fumble with 6:28 to go in the game. The Pats took over on the Cincinnati 44, but the offense went three-and-out.
The defense did break down a bit in the second half, giving up a 28-yard completion to Marvin Jones on a third-and-15 and Aqib Talib took a bad route on an A.J. Green 17-yard catch-and-run in the lone touchdown drive of the afternoon. But overall, Talib did his part in containing Green, who finished with five catches for 61 yards on eight targets.
With two more turnovers, the Patriots have forced a give-away in 32 straight games.
Linebackers Stick Out
It was a huge day for the New England linebackers, with both Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo stepping up and making big plays.
Spikes kept the Bengals off the board as the first quarter came to a close, picking off a terrible Andy Dalton pass at the New England eight-yard line. He saw his most action of the season, and racked up 12 tackles, two of which were for a loss.
Mayo was all over the place, coming up with 11 tackles, and is on pace to finish the season with 144. He also had a good game in pass-coverage.
The Patriots got one of their injured pass-catchers back for Brady, and it didn’t look like Amendola’s groin injury bothered him too much during this one. So they’ve got that going for them.
But there was clearly some rust clinging to Amendola after missing the past three weeks, as he came up with just four catches for 55 yards on nine targets, and had a crucial drop late in the fourth quarter.
Good Day For Special Teams
You know it was a bad day when the punter makes the “Ups” part of Ups and Downs. But five of Ryan Allen’s eight punts pinned the Bengals inside their own 10-yard line and gave the defense plenty of field to work with.
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