BOSTON (CBS) — I took an extra day to process what went on Monday night, and then I wanted to hear what the players had to say after watching the film before I handed out the penalty flags.
There were very few gold stars to hand out after the mess in Kansas City, and plenty of flags to throw:
The Gold Stars
Matthew Slater gets a gold star. His work on special teams coverage was basically the only thing that stood out in this game. He got down the field and made open field tackles. Slater was everywhere on kickoffs and punt returns. He was one of the few players who came to play on Monday night.
Brandon LaFell gets a gold star. LaFell has put his slow start behind him, and had six catches for 119 yards and a touchdown on Monday night. Tom Brady needed somebody to throw the ball to and LaFell turned out to be that guy. It looks like Brady and LaFell are finally on the same page.
The Penalty Flags
There are way too many penalty flags to throw around in this one so I will just say this. The Pats had no idea that the trade of Logan Mankins would affect their line and their whole offense this way. Tom Brady is used to throwing without any pressure coming through the line, and that is not the case at all right now. He’s getting swarmed and he looks awful. Dante Scarnecchia is not walking through that door and if he did, the Pats should stop everything and hold a hall of fame presentation. It’s obvious what he meant to the team.
Something that’s also missing is the loss of Pepper Johnson. The linebackers are not as aggressive as they need to be. Too many knee tackles instead of knocking guys on their rears. Pepper brought the fire to that group and this defense is missing that fight.
Roster wise, this may be too early to say but Bill Belichick the GM may have put this team in jeopardy. Too many bargain guys at the skill positions. They need to find a personnel group that they like and leave that group out there on the field. Watching healthy guys on the sidelines is driving me crazy. They could use a Tommy Kelly, a LaGarrette Blount, a Mankins, a Brandon Spikes — players coach decided to pass on. Right now, those players could really help this team.
Tune in to Patriots-Bengals Sunday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub – the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 5:30 pm, and stay tuned following the game for three hours of postgame coverage! On the TV side, tune in to Patriots GameDay at 11:30 am, and turn over to myTV38 immediately following the game for Patriots 5th Quarter!
Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid.
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