Snap Judgement: Patriots show life in gifted Vikings victory

The 2014 Patriots have one in the win column and now seem on track to get their season going. Getting Oakland for their home opener is almost as big a gift as the win over the Vikings was.

Don’t get me wrong, defensively the Patriots had as solid a game as we’ve seen around here in a while. Still, it was a formula that the Pats have won a lot of games with — takeaways. 

Four interceptions, five punts and one blocked field goal should have this defense feeling good. But how much is a by-product of no Adrian Peterson and Matt Cassel at quarterback?

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Best of ‘13 Patriots Highlights

Patriots vs. Dolphins All-22 Thoughts: Offense Edition

I’m going to break this down by the first and second half because after re-watching the first half I found myself reminded of how good I felt about things.

Were there protection issues? Sure, especially whenever Sebastian Vollmer had to block Cameron Wake without help. I’m not sure what’s up with Vollmer. Is he rusty? Or is he breaking down? He looked a lot stiffer than I remember, but still credit to Wake. He’s a beast and had his way with Vollmer.

Otherwise Brady had time and the offense moved the ball. The protection was sloppy but effective. They found an early rhythm with the three-step passing game.

I can recall three incomplete deep passes from Brady, a statistical point of contention this week, but one was really a throw away and two others were shots to the end zone where the coverage was solid. Can’t blame him for taking those.

In the first half I didn’t notice a discernible difference between the offensive line rotation. Even Devey didn’t look that bad. Was it the smooth operation we’re used to seeing? Not yet, but like I said, it was effective and Brady had time to make throws.

Drives of 13-plays, 80 yards and 11-plays, 94 yards made this certainly look like the Patriots offense we’re used to seeing. But apparently that team never came out of the locker room.

Second Half

 Okay, now there was the ugliness I remember. The turning point was clearly on Brady’s fumble during their first possession of the second half. From there everything just seemed to fall apart.

All the OL had their issues, with Devey and Cannon both getting smoked in one-on-ones that caused Brady to get sacked. Another sack was due to coverage. 

There were also some misreads it seems by Brady where he and the intended receiver didn’t seem on the same page. Agree with Greg Bedard’s observation that the deep ball to Edelman that went incomplete was on Edelman. He should’ve gone upfield.

Credit to the Miami linebacker who stuck with Shane Vereen on his patented wheel route and forced an incompletion.

I used to like Brandon Bolden but I think he’s uber average now. He gets what’s there for him and not a yard more.

It looked to me like LaFell tried to dip his shoulder to avoid contact on his penalty but that ended up with his shoulder in the defender’s head. Right call, but not intentional.

Losing their rhythm at the start of the 3rd quarter set the tone and they could never get it back for more than a play or two. They couldn’t string anything together.

I finished the game feeling like it was there for the taking but the Pats were just too on their heels to take it. It was as if each guy took turns making a costly mistake and the sum of those small parts added up.

Pats Posits: September Stinker Now Out of Way?

Like I usually do with a loss, I like to go back and take a closer look immediately and then put it behind us. What can you say about this game? It was pretty much like all season openers go, especially in the division.

We all remember wins over the Bills in 2009 and 2013 that were just about miracles, and 2009 was at home. Or how about the 2012 loss at home to the Cardinals who wouldn’t win another road game all year.

The month of September is always good for at least one Pats stinker and let’s hope this one was it. And really, this could’ve very well been the toughest divisional game they’ll play all year.

The September stinker might tell you where some of the team’s weaknesses are right now, but the result won’t tell you much about where this team will be at the end of the season.

One loss and a lot of the pundits want to change the scheme or criticize the moves of the offseason. The truth is this was just a sloppy football game in tough conditions, but there was plenty to like about this team and plenty to build on.

Give me sound tackling and a few less avoidable penalties and this is a different game. 

Here are some things that stuck out to me on the rewatch:

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Patriots Football in two days! Let’s talk!

Exciting PatsPropaganda - NRG Energy Partnership Announcement!

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As some of you might’ve noticed, I will be focusing fully here on the blog this season and I’m excited to announce that PatsPropaganda has been lucky enough to be selected as an NRG-Patriots ambassador this season!

The good news for you my readers is that I’ll have a lot of great giveaways, including tickets to Patriots games and Patriots swag.

I am thrilled to have this chance to be able to give back to all my loyal readers!

This should make for a fantastic season and I’m excited to be partnering with a forward-thinking energy company like NRG. Danny Amendola will be the player rep involved in the partnership and after tearing it up in camp, it looks like he’s primed for a huge season. Hopefully we’ll be able to provide some content with Danny.

So spread the word and stay tuned in the coming weeks, and keep your eyes out for our first giveaway!

Patriots Week 1 Kickoff: Miami Dolphins

Last Meeting(s): The Patriots and Dolphins had two closely-fought battles last season. In the first meeting in Week 8, the Dolphins raced out to a 17-3 halftime lead in Foxboro. The Patriots clawed their way back in to take a 27-17. The Dolphins had a comeback of their own in Week 15, intercepting Tom Brady in the end zone to preserve a 24-20 win.

Early Outlook: Between the heat in Miami, the usual closeness of Week 1 divisional games, and the history of close games last season between these two teams, it’s hard to think this game won’t go down to the very end.

Notes:

Miami is looking to push the pace on offense, something the Patriots defense should be well-versed in after facing their own offense and the Eagles’ this preseason.

The strength of the Dolphins pass rush is on the edges with Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, and that matches up well with the Patriots’ strength at tackle. The interior of the Pats offensive line won’t get that stiff of an opening test.

Miami’s feisty cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Brent Grimes could be targets to attack with bigger receivers like Dobson, LaFell and Wright.

The Dolphins’ linebackers move well and should be a good matchup for Rob Gronkowski, assuming he plays as BB threw some cold water on that this morning. Getting those LBs matched up on Shane Vereen, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will be a goal.

Miami’s receivers should put the Pats’ talented secondary to the test immediately. Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline might get the man-on-man matchup throughout the game. Revis-on-Hartline, with Dennard-on-Wallace with McCourty help over top and Arrington-on-Gibson makes sense.

Rookie Ja’Juan James will start at right tackle for the Phins, expect him to get a rotating combination of pass rushers from Chandler Jones to Rob Ninkovich and perhaps even Dominique Easley. This will include the interior of Miami’s line as well. If there’s a recurring theme of Dolphins losses, it’s Tannehill taking a lot of sacks.

Charles Clay is a Patriots-esque weapon and I expect to see plenty of Jamie Collins in coverage on him. 

My five points of emphasis will be coming Friday and we’ll have more links to matchup articles throughout the week as other good takes pop up. 

The only article filled with pure Patriots hate that I’ll post and I love every sentence of it, especially the comments at the end!

Pats send Mallett to Houston for a conditional 6th-round draft pick

Can’t say I’m surprised and really, just happy we got anything for him as I was ready to release him. And it’s only a 6th-rounder if he plays 40 percent of the snaps. Otherwise it’s a 7th-rounder.

That shows you where Mallett’s value was around the league, with Dallas also interested in him.

Garoppolo would have some ups and downs but is a far better fit for the Patriots offense.

Mallett overcame any concerns of “character issues” and was a solid back-up for three seasons. Luckily he was never needed. I wish him the best.

There’s some speed at wide receiver that could accommodate Mallett’s game in Houston. We’ll see if he can develop more touch.

Now we can sign some long snapper and we’re on to Miami!