So the Patriots' dreams of a second 16-0 season in five years are dust, following the Pats 20-18 loss to the visiting Arizona Cardinals. Is the Patriots' offense that bad? Is Arizona better than we thought? here are the five things we learned today.
Pressure Brady to beat him
Not exactly a new lesson here, as that is exactly how the New York Giants have beaten Brady and the Patriots in their Super Bowl match ups. The FOX announcers for the game even went out of their way on multiple occasions to point out the fact that Brady is afraid of contact.
There were multiple occasions during this game where Brady Crumpled like wet toilet paper at the mere hit of pressure. In other situations, he had an open field in front of him and refused to tuck and run.
I know that Brady isn't exactly fleet of foot, but if Peyton Manning can run for first downs in his first game back after missing a season with neck surgery, Tom Brady sure as hell should be able to as well. One has to wonder if Gisele gave him a severe tongue lashing for banging up his nose last week. Man Up, Tom.
Chandler Jones is Legit
One of two first round picks for the Patriots in last season's draft, Jones has provided an immediate impact. last week he combined for a strip sack touchdown with fellow first round pick Donta Hightower, and this week, Jones flat out schooled Cardinals left tackle D'anthony Batiste. Jones provides the Patriots with their first legitimate pass rusher since the departure of Mike Vrabel, and should create match up problems for opposing defenses in the years to come.
Kevin Kolb isn't horrible
Kolb finished the day 15 of 27 for 140 yards and a touchdown, good for a quarterback rating of 82.3 compared to Brady's 79. rating. Given that Kolb finished last week going 6 of 8 including a game winning touchdown in Arizona's opener, the Cardinals' quarterback controversy may not be dead yet. While Kolb did not blow anyone away, he did open some eyes, and if the Arizona defense can play like they did against the patriots on a consistent basis, the cardinals could factor into the NFC playoff race.
Arizona can play defense
Tom Brady may have had another 300 yard game, but he was pedestrian otherwise. The Cardinals Defense sacked Brady four times, and were able to apply pressure seemingly at will against the New England offensive line. Stevan Ridley was held to 79 yards and a 3.9 YOC average, after he racked up 123 yards last week in the Patriots win.
The loss tight end Aaron Hernandez in the first quarter may have factored into the loss, but the Patriots coaching staff is too good to allow the loss of any one player (other than Tom Brady) to effect their offense in such a way.
Patriots fans are fair weather fans
With the Patriots trailing 20-18 with less than two minutes left, FOX showed a stream of Patriots fans headed for the exits. Two plays later, New England recovered a Ryan Williams fumble providing them a last second shot to win on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Following the fumble recovery, FOX showed Pats fans running back to their seats, in hope of a comeback. Gostkowski would miss the 43 yarder for the win, and New Englanders would leave disappointed regardless.