The Patriots came out kicking in the second game of the regular season against the New Orleans Saints. With a final score of 36-20, many things finally started to click for New England. At the top of the list sits Tom Brady, who made headlines with a great game…for an old quarterback.
Tom Brady proved that his lackluster performance against the Kansas City Chiefs last week was nothing more than a fluke. Brady completed 30-of-39 passes for 447 yards, three touchdowns, and a few records. That being said, he is beginning his ascent to break records as an officially old quarterback.
*Brady has already broken Brett Favre’s record for the most passing yards in a single game with a new record of 447 yards (compared to Favre’s 446 yards). With 30 completed passes, Brady tied Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck for the fourth most completed passes of all time. Finally, the last record worth noting is Brady jumped up to third place in passer ratings with a rating of 139.6; Favre holds the first two places. The GOAT is back and ready to play.
*All records apply to quarterbacks over the age of 40 (which is considered old in the NFL).
Patriots’ rookie Deatrich Wise made the most of his playing time on Saturday. Wise had five quarterback hits and another important sack. The sack came during the third quarter on a Saints third and seven. The defensive end saw 28 total snaps and certainly helped force fourth downs. Wise knows how to deliver when called upon, as predicted in one of my training camp articles. New England appears to have drafted their next up-and-coming Trey Flowers.
Rob Gronkowski has finally shown a glimpse of his old self. Gronkowski had six receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Late in the first quarter, Brady found Gronkowski who then brushed off the defense for a 53-yard touchdown. The touchdown gave New England a bigger lead for a score of 13-3. However, during the third quarter, Gronkowski was brought down and suffered a groin injury. He left afterward and didn’t return to the game. Post-game he told the media that he was fine; so we should expect to see more of him in the next game.
Patrick Chung was beaten multiple times against the Saints; a few for major yardage. In the second quarter, Chung was beaten by Alvin Kamara for 38 yards on second and five. Later in the same quarter, he was beaten by Brandon Coleman for the Saints first touchdown of the game. Then yet again in the second quarter, Chung was beaten deep by Coleman for 25 yards. The Saints’ quarterback, Drew Brees, practically had a field day with the safety.
Now by no means did Stephen Gostkowski have a bad game. Gostkowski was 3-of-3 for field goals, which is great. The only fluke in his play was being 3-of-4 for his extra point kicks after the touchdowns. Gostkowski should be the most reliable player for the Patriots’ offense. When a close game comes about and they have the option of either punting the ball or kicking a field goal, the answer should be a no-brainer. The question of whether or not he might make the goal shouldn’t even occur to them. Gostkowski’ play should be nothing short of perfection, and when it isn’t, he’s going to trend down.
Malcolm Butler’s nonexistent performance began on the sidelines. Butler’s starting cornerback position was filled instead by Eric Rowe. Bill Belichick never elaborated on as to why the switch occurred, but some suspect that the Saints’ large wide receivers had something to do with it. When Butler was eventually put into the game, he got in the way of Chung’s coverage on Coleman, which led to the Saints’ first 5-yard touchdown of the game. Butler’s value to the Patriots’ team appears to be slowly fading.
Now that New England appears to be a force to reckon with, it’s time to step up the game. The Patriots face off against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Will the team be able to out-play their performance against the Saints? We hope so.