The Patriots wasted little time reaffirming to everyone that Week One was just a bad day at the office. Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns including a personal best, 177 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. This set the tone early on the road for the Patriots as they rolled to a 36-20 victory. Their first of the 2017 season.
The Saints won the toss and elected to defer to the second half, giving the potent Patriots offense the ball to start the game. Brady and the Patriots promptly made them pay, driving the team 75 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 19-yard touchdown pass to newcomer, Rex Burkhead. A 53-yard touchdown to Rob Gronkowski and a 13-yard touchdown toss to Chris Hogan capped the scoring in the first as the Patriots left the quarter with a 20-3 lead.
Running back, Mike Gillislee, added a touchdown in the second quarter, his fourth of the season. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski, despite missing an extra point, was perfect, hitting all three of his field goal attempts. In his return to New Orleans, wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught two passes for 37 yards. He also added a 13 yard rush on a reverse early in the game.
After converting just 5-of-15 third-down conversions against the Chiefs, the Patriots converted on 6-of-12, including their first five in the game against the Saints. The offense converted 29 total first downs and won the time of possession battle.
Brady ended the night completing 30-of-39 passes to nine different receivers. A far cry from his extremely sub-par performance in Week One. In throwing for 447 yards and three touchdowns, he became just the second quarterback to accomplish that feat at 40-years-old. The other, the current benchmark for 40-year-old quarterbacks, Warren Moon.
Gronkowski looked to be in midseason (healthy) form with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Until, of course, he left the game with an injury. The oft-injured tight end reportedly left with a groin injury, a much better prognosis than the presumed back injury he may have suffered.
Injuries continue to be the storyline during this young season for the Patriots. Entering the game, the Patriots were already without Julian Edelman (I.R.), Dont’a Hightower (knee), and Danny Amendola (concussion). Throughout the course of the afternoon, wide receivers Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett both battled injuries. In addition to the receivers, cornerback Eric Rowe left the game early and never returned. And then, of course, there was Gronk.
The Patriots will now travel back home to face the Houston Texans. Once again, the Patriots will look to overcome a bevy of injuries. It is not known whether Gronkowski will miss time due to the groin, but its safe to say that it is a good possibility. The Patriots would benefit greatly from the return of Danny Amendola. However, at this point, it is too early to tell. Whatever the case may be, the Patriots looked to be back to the Patriots we have become accustomed to.
– Ian Glendon is the National Editor for cover32 and the Managing Editor for cover32/Patriots. He covers the NFL and New England Patriots. Like and follow on Follow @iglen31 Follow @cover32_NE and Facebook.