2016 Season Blog.


3rd Quarter.


Greetings Pats Fans,

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The Most Underrated Defense of the Week.


The Cards lined up 1st and 10, in the new game after Blount fumble, in the Singleback. "We turned the ball over too many times," BB said. "We had too many penalties, but we overcame some of them. We're not going to be able to do that every week." They did it by playing tough on 3rd down, special team, and on defense.

The Pats crowd the line in an odd 3-3 Nickel with Chung and McCourty up in the box. Which is odd because the Cards have run out of this formation all game. The Pats bring five. Hightower and Sheard drop, as the Cards showed pass. Carson ran a play action, and threw a perfect Out to Gresham on the strongside sideline. 

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a Twins-Twins Strong shotgun. The Pats milled about at the LOS with three guys up and three guys down. They brought all six. Then Hightower, Sheard, and Ryan dropped. Sheard then turned around and rushed again, but the OC was ready for him. Palmer threw it too deep and outside, and the ball was untouchable.

2nd and 10, Cards come out in a 2-Wide Winged shotgun. The Pats matched up with a 3-4 with five guys on the line. The Pats brought five. Flowers had a great arm chop and burst inside the ORG. He slammed violently into Palmer as he threw. But with all the momentum on the Cards side now, Carson hit Fitzgerald as Flowers' helmet crashed into his helmet. That was a great throw, and maybe his best of the game.

1st and goal from the four, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. The Pats matched up in a 4-2 Nickel with Chung up on the line at the Sam. The Pats read run and crashed into the left side of the Cards O-line. But David saw it and cutback. He ran through Long. But Branch held on to just stop him short. Then they ran it again. David hopped to the Blindside this time and scored. Pats-17. Cards-14.

1st and 10, and the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. Blount is in, and they ran a play action to him. They ran a reverse to Edelman. He flied around the corner, and was past the line of scrimmage before anyone reacted. But Mathieu rushed up quickly and took his legs out. Edelman flipped over the magic yellow line for the First.

1st and 10, the Pats lined up in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun. Garoppolo dropped. Then shuffled back to his right to give time for Hogan to cross all the way across the field. He hit him in stride heading for the right sideline. He was just about to turn up field with Bennett blocking for him when Buchanan dived and grabbed his foot.

2nd and 6, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Strong shotgun with Garoppolo looking like he was in complete control. They ran a Draw to Blount and he was lucky to reach the line. Another thing that happened after Blount's fumble was the running disappeared.

3rd and 10, the Pats lined up in a 3-wide Singleback. Garoppolo dropped and hit Bennett in the Box. He spun around with amazing agility for a guy his size and lost Tyvon Branch for a second. Which was good, because he had to put his hand down in the dirt twice to stay afloat. Then he dived for the first.

1st and 10, they ran Blount off tackle and he turned up field for a couple. 2nd and 9, the Pats lined up in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun. Fleming and Thuney do a great job switching off on the stunt on their side. Garoppolo had a great pocket. He zipped the ball to Edelman short. Edelman fought like heck for a few more yards, and almost broke it for a long one. 

On 3rd and 3, this was the odd 3rd down for Garoppolo. He threw it to Hogan, but the pass was high and outside. Hogan barely got a hand on it and it dropped to the ground. It was his worst throw on 3rd down of the game. But he was hit in the knee on a cheap shot by Minter, and the refs called it. So he got the 1st down anyway. But I think he showed just how amazing he was in this game. I was a shock that he didn't complete that pass.

1st and 10, Twins right Weak shotgun. They give it to Blount to run some more clock. And he slammed into the line for nothing again. "We had our moments," BB said about the run game. "There were some plays that weren't as consistent as we'd like for them to be. But we tried to, like I said, play a tough game." This wasn't one of those moments.

2nd and 9, the Pats lined up in a Singleback, with Bennett lined up like an H-back. Which is where he is going to play when Gronk gets back. The Cards sent two guys off the edge. But Bennett had motioned to that side. He dragged straight down the line and Garoppolo threw it to him fast enough so the blitzer could do no damage. Bennett caught it and stopped so fast that he made one guy miss, and straight armed Williams straight back into the dirt. But Williams held on and tripped him up.

3rd and 4, Pats lined up Empty. White motioned into a 3-Wide Weak shotgun. Garoppolo pumped faked to the left, and then took off to the right. He threw deep to Amendola in the Endzone. But he was tackled by the CB before the ball arrived. The refs threw two flags to offset the tackle of Amendola in the endzone

3rd and 4 again, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Strong shotgun. With Bennett lined up outside of Solder like an H-back. He was excellent in pass pro, and neutralized Mr. Jones by himself. Cannon held on just long enough for Garoppolo to flee the pocket. Then Golden cried for a flag instead of chasing Garoppolo as he took off to the left. Garoppolo hit Edelman on the sideline for another Hold. As the refs were desperately trying to help the Home team.

3rd and 14, 3-wide Weak shotgun. Garoppolo gets nothing. He scrambled around in circles like Fran Tarkenton. Then he flung it out of bounds. 4th and 14, Gostkowski hit an amazing 53-yard FG to put the Pat up 7 again. This was Garoppolo's most underrated drive of the game. And really, the defense was spectacular up to this point. With over three quarters gone, the Pats D had only given up 14-points. But, both touchdowns were off of turnovers. 

If Garoppolo and Blount don't fumble the ball, I think the Cards wouldn't have scored a touchdown at this point, and maybe held them to zip. "They’re a great team and even when they’re off rhythm, they’re in rhythm," Long said. "They have so many weapons. You just have to stay on them and hope to make them kick field goals. They have a ton of weapons. It was a team win. Everybody did their part." The D really stifled their offense for over three quarters, except on those two short drives off the turnovers.

But even with the two TDs, the defense was still holding them in this game. "It was just a team win. Jimmy made some really gutsy plays," Long said. "We answered the bell at times. That’s what a team is about: picking each other up. When somebody makes a mistake, we just pick each other up. That’s what a team is about. That was real team football and a win." I was shocked people were disappointed with their defense.

This was a perfect example of that old cliché turnovers kill. "I'd say unfortunately the turnovers really weren't offset," BB said. "We didn't get them. And then the ones that they got, they scored touchdowns on. So we didn't really have the offset to that." And both fumbles looked to me like just one of those things.

Sometimes you have good ball security, and the defender just hits the ball the right way and it pops out. "The turnovers, we've got to cut those down period," BB said. "That's just the bottom line. We can't turn the ball over as much as we have the last two weeks and expect to win consistently. But fortunately we were able to score enough points, or hold them to [enough points], other than those two turnovers. Really not very many points in order to win, but that's going to be hard to do every week. We probably aren't going to be able to count on that. We're going to have to do a better job of taking care of the ball." The bottom line is that without those two fumbles, I think it is 17-Zip right here, a few minutes into the 4th quarter. That is spectacular team defense on the road. Pats-20. Cards-14.

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