What We Learned From The Sunday Nighter
If you’d told me even just a year ago that Cam Newton would replace Tom Brady in New England, and that after week two we would be ecstatic about the team following a loss, I would probably have said you were high. And then I would ask where you get your weed from. The Patriots did fall 35-30 to the Seahawks in a nail-biting shootout that came a yard short of a Cam Newton touchdown that would have completed a stunning last-second comeback by the Patriots. This game answered a few questions about both teams, so here are a few things we learned.
1. Russell Wilson Is Really Good
Yes, we already knew that, but Wilson was threading the needle all night against probably the best secondary in the NFL, and Pete Carroll was certainly Letting Russ Cook. Wilson finished 21-28 for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns with one interception, that was tipped by Greg Olsen and not his fault. Three of these touchdowns were just thrown you can’t really do anything about, especially the long ball to DK Metcalf. That was tight coverage by the reigning DPOY Stephen Gilmore but there’s nothing you can do when a ball is placed that perfectly. Two weeks in, ”Mr. Unlimited” is the front runner for MVP, with nine touchdowns in his first two games.
2. Patriots' WR's Have Improved
Probably the most glaring concern of the Patriots disappointing offense last season, besides Marshall Newhouse at Left Tackle, was their receivers, or lack thereof. Leading the league in drops and at the bottom of the league in separation, there was a good reason why. Although it’s early, the Patriots seem to be much better off at the position this year, as Newton was able to spread the ball around very well. Julian Edelman recorded a career-high 179 receiving yards on 8 catches with Jamal Adams playing a lot of man coverage on him, and N’Keal Harry also had a career-high with 72 yards off eight receptions. Damiere Byrd, Cam’s old friend from Carolina, also recorded 72 yards off six catches in the game.
3. The Patriots Made A Statement, Even When Losing
Nobody expected this game to be as offensive-oriented as it was, with the Patriots running a ball-control, run-heavy offense against Miami last weekend and the obvious question marks surrounding the receivers. But to the surprise of pretty much, everyone, the Patriots offense led by Cam Newton looked explosive. Newton’s shoulder looks fine and he looked polished in the pocket, throwing for 397 yards and one touchdown while also rushing for 47 yards and two touchdowns. Faced with a 4th and 3 early, they kept the offense on the field and let Cam ride the RPO, completing the pass to Harry for the first, who absorbed a crunching hit to hold onto the ball. Down two scores late, they let Cam sling it and he brought them right downfield, with a beautiful 49-yard touch pass to Edelman over the head of Jamal Adams. Cam and the Patriots might not have won, but they did send a message to the rest of the NFL, one that I believe was heard loud and clear. That message? The Patriots are not going anywhere.
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