Some first impressions and second takes about the Patriots in the first week reveal a lot about where they may go in the second week. Cincinnati and Seattle came out on top, delivering last-minute defeats to the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins, which was not so surprising as to affect the NFL picks.
One game into the season, the Patriots victory over Arizona has given them first place in the AFC East; the fact that Tom Brady will adorn their ranks the next time they play on the road only bodes well for them.
But that is nothing new. Then again, it would be a mistake to overlook the performance of Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy maintained a surprisingly amount of poise at the line of scrimmage, showing confidence against a highly formidable defense and manifesting the potential that got him his first NFL start.
Special teams Captain Matthew Slater took notice of Jimmy’s confidence and the fact that he didn’t allow the size of the game to get to him. Jimmy didn’t allow his wildly high overthrow to Chris Hogan at the beginning to distract him, settling in soon after.
Not that he was perfect; however, even with his flawed pocket awareness, Jimmy was much better than anyone expected. Head Coach Bill Belichick continued to heap the praise on Monday, appreciating Jimmy’s ability to make good decisions. There were many critics before the game who Jimmy silenced.
His less than impressive performance at Carolina in the preseason warranted the criticism; fortunately, Jimmy was very prepared this time around and he didn’t allow the bright lights in Arizona to get to him.
Some analysts might linger on tight end Martellus Bennet’s woeful contribution in the passing game. The three catches in five targets for 14 yards won’t impress that many people. However, Bennett’s physical presence more than made up for some of his failings during the Sunday Night Game.
There were a number of mistakes, though. A first down at the Arizona 15 was negated by Bennett’s holding penalty on Jones early in the fourth quarter, which was a missed opportunity for a touchdown. The Patriots had to settle Stephen Gostkowski’s 53-yard field goal.
Moving forward, the Patriots have two games separated by four days each. There is a game with the Dolphins on Sunday and another game with the Texans on the following Thursday.
The Patriots have some serious considerations to make when it comes to Rob Gronkowski. They are probably going to err on the side of caution.
On the other side of things, 31-year-old Chris Long seems rejuvenated. Injuries have sidelined Chris for two very unproductive years in St. Lois. However, the Sunday night game suggested that Chris had received the rest he needed and was now ready to perform at his peak.
It will fall upon him to maintain good health.
Some very wise minds made the rational decision to finally bring the giant banner featuring Tom Brady’s likeness at Gillette Stadium down. The banner went up after Brady’s game suspension kicked in.
It would be utter foolishness to have Brady staring down at Garoppolo’s during the Sunday game with the Dolphins. While the organization clearly wanted to show that they disagreed with the treatment of their quarterback, there were better ways to make this point.