The New England Patriots are under pressure for the first time in a while

| 3 years ago

The New England Patriots are under pressure for the first time in a while

PFF-headlinesIn case you have been hiding under a rock since Sunday’s games were played the Patriots lost their first game of the season, and it wasn’t an unlucky bounce of the ball, freak play or blown officiating call that determined that result. The Miami Dolphins beat them comfortably.

Despite Rob Gronkowski back in business the Patriots offense was under assault all game long and couldn’t find a rhythm.  Tom Brady completed 29 of his 56 pass attempts for 249 yards and a touchdown, and though he didn’t throw an interception, it was far from a vintage Brady performance.

His numbers are concerning when you drill down into them. He completed just one pass that traveled 20+ yards in the air, just four of 24 attempts that traveled 10+ yards in the air, and just 9 of 23 passes outside the numbers. Under pressure his completion percentage dropped to 35%.

It’s not unusual for a quarterback to struggle under pressure, but the Patriots have usually had an impressive offensive line. Against Miami the O-line alone surrendered 23 total pressures – three sacks, six knockdowns and 14 additional hurries. Brady was under pressure on four more dropbacks than any other quarterback in the first week of action and on a massive 40% of his passing snaps.

Last season Brady was let down at times by a corps of inexperienced receivers, but this season he is in danger of being let down by his pass protection. At 37 years old, Brady needs protection now more than he ever has in his career, and with long time line coach Dante Scarnecchia no longer able to weave his magic on the unit it might just be the year that it is no longer giving him what he needs.

On the other hand maybe the Miami pass rush is really just that good. We’ll get to see how quickly the Patriots can rebound next week against a Minnesota team that was able to bring its own brand of pressure against St Louis.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • babalawo49

    pats stink they will have a losing season today belicheat messed letting go of mankins and scarnechia what an idiot coach cheating squad

    • PatsFan

      It’s hard to have a losing season in one day. Don’t know who this Belicheat person is. Scarnecchia retired because he was of retirement age.

      Everyone is in agreement that Mankins would not have made a difference. Even so, he was injured in the first quarter of his game and could be lost for the season. So if you want to judge in hindsight it is better that the Patriots filled a hole at TE, freed up salary cap space to potentially get help on the O-line, and picked up a 4th round pick. It beats an injured aging veteran.

      • babalawo49


        • Brandon

          This is gonna be so funny to look back on once the season is over

          • babalawo49


        • Billy

          Another candidate for the short bus……BABALL! BABALL!

          • babalawo49

            soft finesse team with whiny players pats are done

    • Logical Sentence Maker

      This is the poorest constructed sentence i think i’ve ever seen. Please step away from the keyboard.

      • babalawo49


    • Zoocore

      You should really get off of your computer and go back to school.

      Also, we’ve heard this whole “Reign is over” crap for years. It will not be over until Brady/Belichick retire. Get used to it.

  • davathon

    Dolphins D-line is awesome, but it’s pretty much the same group as last year. The Patriots O-line is bad. The Dolphins weren’t even blitzing. All the pressure came from their front four.

    • CountMahdrof

      One big difference – Earl Mitchell. Better pass rush than Soliai and, so far, not horrible stopping the run. Great FA pickup so far.

    • rogue

      When the Phins DL dominates Denver’s OL, then you can call them “awesome”. That said, Wake is awesome.

      “You’re never as good as you look when you win and you’re never as bad as you look when you lose”
      -Branch Rickey

    • Basedrum

      The big change is actually the health of Cameron wake and some new pass rushing blood in Chris McCain. Dline for the fins should be very good. Lbs…..?

  • [email protected]

    Brady has ALWAYS needed protection, not just now that he’s older.
    And YES, the Pats (Belichik) are cheaters.

    • Zoocore

      Please enlighten us on your knowledge of this ‘cheating’. I’d like to know what it was that they did. Please educate us all on the exact infraction. If you cannot, you need to move on because this is the most stale argument in the NFL.

      • Basedrum

        They were fined and striped of a pick because they were illegally taping other teams’ practices. But I’m sure you know that.

        • Billy

          Go bang another drum, moron.

  • Pygskyn

    Might I just post that some of the more… enthusiastic… posters in here do not speak for the Dolphins fan base. Most of us know that while we dominated this game, that Brady and Bellicheck will right the ship and the Pats will very likely be a force to be reckoned with and that week 15 will be a dogfight with the division very likely at stake.
    I hope the Pats dynasty is finished, but until I see its dead body lying before me I don’t believe it.

  • rogue

    The Pats will likely scrap the 3-4 and go back to last year’s D. Vellano and Jones are clearly incapable of playing 2 gaps. Those RoP penalties were BS. The D isn’t as bad as it looked in Miami. When your offense keeps giving the ball back it would make any D look bad.

    The offense, however is a problem. BB failed to improve from Wendell and Connolly. Stork and Flemming are waiting in the wings. Stork missed the preseason but when healthy it won’t be a stretch to say he’ll be an upgrade at center. Fleming played well in preseason. The OL will look different in a month.

    Brady kept forcing the ball to Gronk when he was double-covered at least twice. He looks terrible. You can improve the OL over the course of the season, but not an age 37 QB.

    The offense has been problematic since SB42. Don’t be surprised if BB relieves Josh McDaniels of his playcalling duties at some point this season. Brian Daboll is the current TE coach, but has been the Pats WR coach during the SB title years and was with Eric Mangini as QB coach with the Jets and as OC in Cleveland. Replacing McDaniels will be easy.

  • Kenneth Chandler

    Am so glad the Dolphins put the smack down on NE. We face them @ TCF stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday…if we’re able to apply as much or more pressure on Brady as the Dolphins did, and play smart on offense, we have a good chance of winning this one. Thanks Dolphins for softening them up for us!

  • OMikeyboy

    There were 4 Miami sacks. Wake x2, Vernon, and McCain.