BOSTON (CBS) — So you are what your record says you are, and right now the Pats are a mediocre football team with a ton of defensive problems. They truly have a long way to go to get better. Here are your gold stars and penalty flags from Sunday’s 33-30 loss at home to Carolina.

The Gold Stars:

Danny Amendola gets a gold star. Whenever the Pats need an offensive play, Amendola is there with a clutch performance. He made big catches to help the Pats get down the field and the game-tying touchdown at the back of the endzone. He is always in the right spot when something needs to happen. Danny just has to stay healthy.

Stephen Gostkowski gets a gold star. The 58-yard field goal to end the half and put the Pats within one was awesome. I’m not sure he’s totally out of the woods yet. People still get nervous when he lines up for a kick but crushing a long one — and it had some room to spare — is a step in the right direction.

The Penalty Flags:

The Pats defense gets a penalty flag. There is nothing good you can say about this defense right now. They let up big plays, they can’t stop the run, they can’t cover, there’s a ton of miscommunication and there is zero sign of it improving. The Panthers had players running free on screens and down the seam. The Pats had trouble tackling and then when they got back into the game, defensive penalties crushed any effort. This is not a quick fix and there may have to be a subtraction soon for it to get better.

Stephon Gilmore gets a penalty flag. Forget that he was awful in coverage and never mind that he’s struggling to pick up the team’s concepts. He got a hands to the face penalty early in the game and that should have set the tone. So now when the Pats defense finally makes a stand in the fourth quarter, he gets another crucial hands to the face penalty. It was ticky tack, I get that, but the refs were calling it. Gilmore never adjusted his game. Instead, he continued to play, as he would say “aggressive football.” But if they are throwing flags for something, it’s costly for you to continue doing it. This cost the Pats. Right now, four games in, Stephon Gilmore is not playing up to expectations.


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