The New England Patriots came out flat on Sunday and never recovered, dropping under .500 for the first time since 2002. The Patriots’ regular practice schedule was disrupted due to a myriad of COVID-19 issues heading into this matchup, and the lack of preparation certainly showed throughout the game. Here is my Patriots game recap:
Bending But Not Breaking
It’s not often you lose a game without allowing a touchdown, but that’s what happened on Sunday. The Patriots admittedly were not great against the run, allowing Denver to rush for 135 yards. They repeatedly kept the Broncos out of the endzone though, keeping New England in the game despite the offense’s ineptitude. Down the stretch, J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones came up with two clutch interceptions to give the Patriots a chance. Unfortunately for them, Cam Newton and company were unable to pull off the comeback. New England’s defense certainly shouldn’t be blamed for this loss.
Newton looked rusty in his first game since Week 3, throwing for 157 yards and two interceptions. He did rush well, per usual, taking his 10 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown. Newton repeatedly struggled to connect with his receivers, though, utilizing James White as his most consistent pass-catcher. Super Cam will look to turn things around next week against a banged-up 49ers defense.
The Patriots need a true number one wide receiver. That was ever so apparent on Sunday, as Damiere Byrd ended up being New England’s most reliable wideout. Byrd caught three balls, while Julian Edelman only caught one and N’Keal Harry put up a goose egg. Cam Newton played poorly, but his receivers’ inability to get open seriously limits New England’s potential. Look for Bill Belichick to explore trading for a veteran receiver like Julio Jones or A.J. Green at the deadline… if they are available.
There’s still plenty of football left to be played, but this loss could come back to haunt the Patriots if they fail to make the playoffs. Make all the excuses you want about the lack of practice and preparation, but New England was simply outplayed by Denver on Sunday.
Next up: The Patriots host San Francisco on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. (ET)
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