It’s time to face the facts, Patriots fans. This team just isn’t very good. After getting blown out by the Broncos last week, many blamed the poor performance on the lack of practice due to COVID-19 issues. This week, that wasn’t the case.
The Patriots practiced every day and were still dominated by a banged-up 49ers squad, falling to 2-4 and cementing their third-place spot in the AFC East. They now sit behind Buffalo and Miami. Here are some of my thoughts on the game:
There weren’t many good aspects of this game for the Patriots, but Meyers was definitely one of them. The sophomore receiver was only given a chance to play when N’Keal Harry exited the game with a head injury, but he certainly took advantage of the opportunity. Meyers finished with four catches for 60 yards. Hopefully this performance will warrant more playing time for the undrafted receiver.
It’s only been a couple of games, but Harris has been much more impressive than backfield mate Sony Michel (who is currently on IR with a quad injury). The sophomore Alabama product runs hard, which he showcased at times on Sunday, finishing with 70 total yards. Don’t be surprised if Harris officially wins the starting job from Michel when he returns.
It was easy to blame Newton’s poor performance against the Broncos last week on rust after missing two weeks due to COVID-19. There are no excuses for how he played on Sunday, though. Newton completed 9/15 passes for 98 yards, throwing three interceptions. To no one’s surprise, he was pulled in the third quarter for backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham. “Super Cam” repeatedly made the wrong decision and looked like a shell of his MVP-self, or even the Newton we saw at the beginning of the year. The Patriots need him to turn it around next week if they’re going to make a playoff push.
While Cam Newton and company didn’t do much to help New England’s defense out, they were absolutely dominated by Jimmy Garoppolo and the rest of San Francisco’s offense. The Patriots’ abysmal run-defense made Jeff Wilson Jr. look like prime Le’Veon Bell, allowing 197 total rushing yards to the 49ers.
No matter what Kyle Shanahan drew up, New England had no answer for them. Bill Belichick’s defenses have historically been the staple of the Patriots’ identity. That hasn’t been the case this year, and unless things turn around it’s going to be hard for New England to jump back into playoff contention.
Bill Belichick, The General Manager
While Cam Newton has played poorly, he hasn’t had much to work with. At the end of the day, Bill Belichick failed to put this team in the best position to win football games. New England’s receivers are the worst group in the league at creating separation. Julian Edelman is 34 years old and hasn’t caught more than three balls in a game since Week 2.
N’Keal Harry — who is now hurt — has barely been targeted. Damiere Byrd has been serviceable, but can only do so much. Ryan Izzo is not a starting-caliber tight end. Belichick absolutely has to acquire an upgrade at receiver or tight end if he wants the Patriots to contend this year.
I hope you enjoyed my Patriots week seven recap, next up: New England travels to Buffalo to take on the Bills on Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET)
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