BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots opened the 2015 NFL season with a win over the Steelers, but there was a little controversy surrounding the victory.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t too pleased that the Patriots’ radio broadcast of the game bled into their headsets on the sidelines, making it difficult to communicate with his other coaches. The NFL has taken blame for the situation, but that didn’t stop all the national headlines from running wild with another “cheating scandal” surrounding the Patriots.
It’s a situation Boomer Esiason sees everywhere, just not to the extreme that Scott Zolak is yelling “Unicorns and Show Ponies!” in a coach’s ear.
“You’d be pissed too if you had to listen to Zolak,” Boomer joke Monday on Toucher & Rich. Esiason’s broadcast booth was next to the Sports Hub’s on Thursday night, and he got to see Zo giddy with excitement after hearing that his broadcast was in Tomlin’s headset.
“It happens a lot, and to the credit of the coaches, a lot came out and said it happens in a lot of different buildings and not just Gillette,” said Boomer. “It’s a big story made out of nothing.”
As for the win itself, Boomer said the New England offense looked like they hadn’t left the field since the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIX, led by Tom Brady’s four touchdown passes against the Steelers.
“His performance was unbelievable,” Esiason said of Brady, who finished 25-of-32 for 288 yards. “They do little things on offense that you can only do when you’re quarterback is in sync with your offensive coordinator. It’s really something to watch, and if you truly understand what they’re doing and how they’re getting Rob Gronkowski free, it really is a thing of beauty. Their offense is fine and they’ll have another great season.”
But there are concerns with the defense, with the secondary and run defense among the primary concerns of the group. To make things more difficult this season, the AFC East is a much better division, with all four teams victorious in Week 1.
“The Bills were the most impressive out of the bunch,” Boomer said of Buffalo’s convincing 27-14 win over the Colts. “Miami got off to a slow start but then settled in to shutout the Redskins in the second half, and the same can be said of the New York Jets. But they had to chase around Johnny Manziel, who is a mistake waiting to happen. I’m not sure the Jets are that good, or the Browns are that bad. All four teams are talented, and all four have warts. It’s going to be quite the season in the AFC East.”
Up next for the Patriots is a division meeting with the Bills in Buffalo. With Rex Ryan now on the sidelines, the Bills harassed Andrew Luck all day on Sunday, picking off the QB twice and sacking him twice as well. The Buffalo offense looked good, with quarterback Tyrod Taylor completing 14 of his 19 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown to Percy Harvin, who had five receptions for 79 yards and the score.
“This is a tough game for the Patriots,” Boomer said of the upcoming matchup in Buffalo, noting the play of Taylor on Sunday. “He is a run-around guy, but what impressed me yesterday were some of the passes he made from the pocket; how quickly he made the decision and how accurate he was. They have a bunch of good players around him in Harvin, [Sammy] Watkins and [LeSean] McCoy, who had a whale of a game yesterday. Everything went well for them yesterday.”
The Patriots are dealing with some injuries along their offensive line, which Buffalo will take advantage of with their talented pass-rush.
“If the Pats are going to play with that offensive line they had against the Steelers, it’ll be a different deal because this is a much better line than the Steelers,” said Boomer. “This is going to present a major, major challenge for the Patriots this week.”