NE-IND Grades: Brady’s brilliance powers Pats to victory

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Patriots 34-27 victory over the Colts.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NE-IND Grades: Brady’s brilliance powers Pats to victory

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Patriots 34-27 victory over the Colts:

Indianapolis Colts

– This was a game of two halves for Andrew Luck (-1.8) and the Colts, as a strong first half gave way to a more familiar and erratic tune against the Patriots. While Luck didn’t throw any interceptions and kept pulling out big throws right until the end of the game, his accuracy and decision-making deteriorated in the second half, and he forced passes into coverage that might have been intercepted without the intervention of his receivers or stronger plays on the ball by New England defenders.

– After a solid rookie season, left guard Jack Mewhort (+3.3) has turned into the greatest success of this young season for the Colts after they called time on the experiment to play him at right tackle. Since Mewhort was moved back to guard in Week 3, only three guards (Marshal Yanda, Joel Bitonio, and Evan Mathis) have bettered Mewhort’s +9.8 overall grade, and none have bettered his +8.6 run block grade that he added to with his fourth straight grade of +1.0 or better last night.

– Tom Brady’s average time to throw was up on his season average last night (2.39 seconds, season average of 2.15 seconds), but that still didn’t help the Colts bring the heat to the Patriots’ signal caller off the edge. Their outside linebackers combined to register just one sack, one hit and two hurries with Jonathan Newsome (+0.2) their only edge rusher with multiple pressures. Trent Cole (-0.9) jumped offsides twice and had his biggest impact through a batted pass while Erik Walden (+1.1) was shut out on 21 pass rushes.

Top performers:

LG Jack Mewhort (+3.3)
RG Hugh Thornton (+3.2)
RT Joe Reitz (+1.6)
HB Frank Gore (+1.3)
WR Donte Moncrief (+1.2)


New England Patriots

– Only drops and batted passes threatened to derail another accomplished performance from Tom Brady (+3.4) as he led the Patriots to another victory. One of two drops by Julian Edelman (+0.6) led directly to a pick-six to put the Patriots down early in the second quarter but a scoring strike from Brady to Rob Gronkowski (+1.5) just after the half gave New England a lead they never surrendered.

–This season has swayed from busy days to quiet days for Malcolm Butler (+3.4), but the Patriots’ corner stood up to his thorough examination, breaking up three passes after giving up a touchdown to Donte Moncrief (+1.2) on the Colts’ opening drive. Since being targeted 11 times by the Steelers in Week 1, Butler had only seen as many targets in the three games since, but last night was thrown at a career-high 13 times, surrendering seven catches for 83 yards to go with his three pass defenses and three stops.

– After returning to the lineup against the Cowboys last week, Dominique Easley (+3.4) showed this week what the Patriots have been missing without him in the lineup early this season. Racking up eight pressures against the Colts’ interior offensive line on only 21 pass rushes, Easley earned the highest pass rushing productivity (29.8) of any defensive tackle this week.

Top performers:

QB Tom Brady (+3.4)
CB Malcolm Butler (+3.4)
DT Dominique Easley (+3.4)
DE Chandler Jones (+3.0)
WR Danny Amendola (+2.1)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Only 6 weeks into the season and over half of the division races seem to be all but decided. Not sure Roger Goodell is too thrilled about that….especially since the Patriots are one of those winning teams on cruise control.

    • rogue

      Too many teams = too many bad to mediocre teams

      This is true for all of the major sports leagues. That’s the long term price to pay for the quick fix of expansion money.

      • Chris from the Cape

        Well said.

  • rogue

    On the Colts opening drive, the Pats started Branch and Siliga at the two DT spots. It was more of a run oriented defensive format. The result was Luck having too much time in the pocket and the Colts marching down field for an easy TD. After that, Easley and Brown came in.

    I suspect Vollmer will be a fixture at LT for the foreseeable future. He’s been extended and I don’t expect Solder back next year. I thought Fleming had a sold game from the bits and pieces I was able to pick up on the TV. Yet, since I no longer have access to PFF’s Premium stats, I could be totally wrong. The same is true of Logan Ryan, who looked like his usual dreadful self in coverage.

    • snoth cambin

      Logan ryan was fine

      • aaronaperson

        Actually thought that was among his best games. (Ryan that is) LB depth seems to be an issue, not so sure what’s up with Mayo. The Easley/Brown interior when the Pats are playing ahead could turn into a monster-they seem to compliment each other well.

        • snoth cambin

          Mayo has been whiffing on tackles so far but hopefully Hightower isn’t out for long. The secondary surprisingly has been pretty solid, it sort of reminds me of the 2004 patriots secondary when they had harrison and Samuel with a bunch of role players after that(poole,wilson,earthwind etc)

          • Chris from the Cape

            Mayo is a dedicated Patriot, but always seems to be a step too slow (especially next to Collins): I think Freeney covers more ground. Pass coverage on the underneath routes is just so vital in today’s game, and slower linebackers so often turn into liabilities.

          • aaronaperson

            Unfortunately I have to agree. Let’s hope Mayo finds something else in the tank tho, depth at LB is a definite concern.

          • aaronaperson

            Agreed on Hightower, with Mayo though, it’s just weird… Dude tackled everything in sight pre-injury. Either the injury is still bothering him, or he’s done. The sentimental side of me says he’s still not 100%, and I’m still hoping to see Collins/Mayo/Hightower at their full combined powers.
            That 04 secondary ALSO benefited from excellent d-line play, a good corollary to this year’s D.

        • Chris from the Cape

          I agree: that they weren’t throwing at him proves he was at least effective. I particularly follow PFF, b/c it doesn’t judge players based upon their past reputation, but current execution.

    • Antti Vanhanen

      Solder was just extended and the coaching staff loves him. He’s not going anywhere.

  • chewee

    The Colts gave the game away with perhaps the most IDIOTIC play call of all time. Lining up 2 guys against the NE defensive line. Really??????

  • Scott West

    Gronk had a big game by virtue of pulling an incredible amount of coverage his way, opening up the field for other receivers. Indy sacrificed pass rush for short coverage, and Brady responded by holding the ball longer and going over the top. If not for more drops than normal, and conservative play calling for the entire fourth quarter, this would have been a massive game for the offense instead of merely very good.

    • Chris from the Cape

      As a Patriot fan, I’m concerned how ordinary their offense looked once Edelman was deemed walking injured. I would have liked (as Collinsworth mentioned) to have seen some screen passes to get Lewis in space to do his crazy-athlete ‘thing.’

      • Jack Casey

        I don’t think Lewis was at 100%.. Believe he hurt himself at practice and didn’t look the same as he had the previous 4 games..

  • SCalJack

    LOL Luck had a 312 yd game, 3 td’s and a rating of 98.1 and u guys give him a negative grade? that’s personal i think. otherwise is just bs.

    • Antti Vanhanen

      Clearly you have no idea how PFF grades players. Hint: it’s not a statistical exercise.

  • Jim Winslow

    Chuck pagano will be fired.