ReFo: Bengals @ Patriots, Week 5
The Patriots needed a response after the pasting they took in Kansas City last Monday and by the media in the week that followed. From the first drive they came up with the perfect reminder, if it was needed, that they have had poor games before, but rarely follow it up with another.
The Bengals were fresh off of their bye week, confident after a 3-0 start, but this game had haunting reminders of their disappointing playoff losses in the past three seasons. Just like in those games the Bengals came up well short against quality opposition.
Only five weeks into the season this cannot be described as a defining game for either team, but it did have an air of “the more things change the more they stay the same” about it.
Cincinnati Bengals – Performances of Note
Wallace Gilberry, DE: +3.8
Breakdown: There really was very little by way of a positive spin to take on this game from the Bengals and Gilberry was one of the few defensive players in particular to put in a creditable performance. Earning his highest single game grade since Week 15 of 2010 (+5.3 at St Louis) led both teams in pressures (five hurries) and trailed only Rey Maualuga for the team lead in stops with four.
Signature Play: Following A.J. Green’s fumble late in the second quarter, Gilberry came up with hurries on consecutive snaps at 00:30 and 00:24, the second forcing Brady to throw the ball away helping limit the damage to a short field goal.
Jermaine Gresham, TE: -0.7
Breakdown: Picking out poor showings from the Bengals on both sides of the ball from last night is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. Gresham’s night got underway with a good drive block on Rob Ninkovich at 08:10 in the first, but was followed up thereafter with an ineffective display as a receiver including a dropped touchdown midway through the second quarter.
Signature Stat: After dropping 10 passes in 2012, last night’s drop was Gresham’s first since Week 11 last season and only his fourth since the beginning of last season.
Bengals Linebackers: -8.2 coverage grade
Breakdown: Tom Brady only passed off of play action six times on Monday night, last night though he tested the Bengals’ linebackers early and often particularly with play action. On 15 combined targets the trio of Vincent Rey, Emmanuel Lamur and Rey Maualuga surrendered 11 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns in a display that showed just how much they miss Vontaze Burfict.
Signature Stat: In the intermediate and short zones the Bengals surrendered 12-of-16 for 209 yards and two touchdowns to Tom Brady.
New England Patriots – Performances of Note
Tom Brady, QB: +3.1
Breakdown: Coming out firing from his first throw Brady was in control of the Cincinnati defense, doing all of his damage between the numbers with only six completions for 38 yards coming outside the numbers on 11 targets. This performance was another peak in what has started as a very up and down season for Brady which is sure to keep him at the heart of the NFL discussion from week to week.
Signature Play: A 141.3 passer rating on play action passes last night was boosted by his touchdown pass down the seam to Timothy Wright at 03:15 in the first, exploiting a hole in the Bengals’ zone behind the linebackers.
James Develin, FB: +2.5
Breakdown: Symptomatic of a powerful display by the Patriots, Develin brought his attitude and effort to each phase of the game. Strong lead blocking was paired with a couple of powerful carries (one that seemed the victim of a very dubious spot) and a first down conversion on his only reception.
Signature Play: That reception at Q3 13:56 featured him running through a tackle by Leon Hall on the Patriots’ opening play of the third quarter.
Shane Vereen, RB: +2.5
Breakdown: A dozen touches for Vereen last night and something positive contributed on just about every carry. Even when he was tackled short of the markers at 09:53 in the second quarter he got past a free defender in the backfield to threaten the Bengals with surrendering a first down on third-and-21.
Signature Play: Vereen made good on that second quarter threat with 07:28 left in the third, converting a third-and-16 bursting through the second level to setup Rob Gronkowski’s touchdown two plays later stealing the momentum back from the Bengals.
PFF Game Ball
There wasn’t a single “wow” throw in this performance from Tom Brady, but he hit far more than he missed and got the Patriots back on the right footing after a rocky week.
Follow PFF on Twitter