Patriots squander massive alternative with sloppy play vs. Vikings
At his postgame press convention, Invoice Belichick regarded and seemed like a coach who’d simply been engaged in a three-hour soccer Whack-a-Mole marathon.
“Disappointing to come up a little bit short,” Belichick stated after his group misplaced to the Vikings, 33-26, on Thanksgiving. “But we just had too many mistakes they took advantage of, and that really is the difference in a game.”
Errors. They have been in all places. Like rodents, popping their heads up for air, on the worst potential instances.
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For the primary time in a very long time, nevertheless, it wasn’t Belichick’s offense that was the worst offender. The truth is, it was one of the best sport second-year quarterback Mac Jones has performed this season. He threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 9.8 yards per try, cobbled collectively a 119.8 quarterback ranking, and the Patriots offense averaged a season-high 7.4 yards per play. He was correct. He made good selections. The ball was actually by no means put in hurt’s approach.
However simply as quickly because the offense started to click on, different areas of Belichick’s group — areas that had been sound for weeks — submitted game-changing mishaps.
On particular groups they allowed a kickoff return for a landing. Mole. Rookie special-teamer Pierre Robust bumped into Minnesota’s punter, extending their drive, which led to the game-winning landing. Mole.
Defensively, they have been flagged for three 15-yard penalties. Mole. They allowed Justin Jefferson to tear them to shreds (9 catches, 139 yards, one landing) regardless of constant double-teams. Mole. Their pass-rush was a non-factor towards an offensive line that allowed seven sacks 4 days prior. Mole. They have been flagged six instances for 55 yards. Mole.
The shortage of consideration to element prolonged to the offensive aspect of the ball as effectively, regardless of their numbers. They went simply 3-for-10 on third down. They went 0-for-3 within the pink zone. They erased end-of-half alternatives to attain by not stopping the clock on two separate events. They acquired shellacked within the time-of-possession sport, taking part in simply 55 offensive snaps (second-lowest complete of the season for them), and having the soccer for just below 24 minutes.
It wasn’t speculated to look that approach. The Patriots had additional time to arrange for the Vikings since that they had the nice fortune of dealing with the Jets following their Week 10 bye. They’d simply seen the Jets in Week 8. The prep for that divisional matchup did not require the majority of New England’s week off. That was after they acquired began in earnest on Minnesota, which did not have the identical luxurious, coming off troublesome video games towards the Payments and Cowboys.
But the Patriots, dealing with a rookie head coach in Kevin O’Connell, nonetheless regarded just like the group that wasn’t prepared. And although there have been big-picture causes for them to be inspired — the offense, and Mac Jones specifically, confirmed explosive-play potential in the end — the self-inflicted errors that plagued them should be equally discouraging. And so they elevate questions that didn’t exist at such elevated decibels earlier than Week 12.
Can the Patriots protection maintain up towards extra competent quarterbacks main potent passing assaults? Can their special-teams models maintain up on a weekly foundation? Can they play intelligently after they completely should?
Their Thanksgiving mess misplaced them a winnable sport. Interval. And so they now head right into a troublesome stretch run that might finish with them wanting again on the vacation and questioning what would possibly’ve been had they only been in a position to play a bit bit cleaner.