Have the New England Patriots finally figured things out on offense?
Despite dispatching the 1-13 Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday with strong defense, the Patriots offense came to life in the second half, rushing the ball much more effectively and protecting Brady in the pocket. It was the best the running game has looked all season for New England, which rushed for a season-high 175 yards and got a touchdown from Rex Burkhead.
Even the kicking unit had its best outing of the season, with Nick Folk hitting a pair of 40-plus yard field goals including a season-long of 46 yards.
Although it was against a Cincinnati team with the worst team defense in the NFL this season, it still gave the Patriots confidence to rediscover an offensive identity. Tom Brady, speaking on Boston radio station WEEI on Monday, thought the Patriots’ offense, aided by timely defensive takeaways, finally got the wheels turning on Sunday.
“It was good to go on the road and get a win. We were coming off two tough losses and any time you go on the road you’ve got to expect the opponents best. [Cincinnati] had some real talented players on defense and it was kind of grinding it out in the first half and got some great turnovers by our defense. We did a great job running the ball and it was a good win. That’s what we needed. We’ve got a big one against Buffalo, they’re playing a good football and got a great defense so it’s going to be a big challenge for us.
To hear Brady talking this way about the offense as whole, despite the quarterback only completing 15 passes for 128 yards, is encouraging to hear for a team that has struggled to move the ball at times this season.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Rookies Got Involved
First-round draft choice N’Keal Harry also played a big role in the Patriots’ victory on Sunday and seemed to connect with Brady well. The rookie caught a touchdown pass, was involved in the run game, and threw several key blocks along the way to help running backs break through the line.
He finished the day with 22 yards rushing and 15 yards receiving with a score and just four touches. Brady talked briefly about his touchdown pass with Harry, crediting the rookie’s football thinking and his offensive line.
“It was good adjustment by N’Keal, he ran a route and wasn’t really the intended receiver,” Brady said. “He got to the back of the end zone and really made a good quick adjustment. I had really great protection, that set up everything, and ended up just finding him in the back.”
Harry’s best play of the day — a diving catch in tight coverage — was negated by a false start penalty on Julian Edelman but did display Brady’s trust in the young receiver to make those plays. His fellow rookie receiver, Jakobi Meyers, was never targeted on Sunday after a trio of drops in the week prior.