NFL Notes: Pats still searching for answers on offense – Author
After months of preparation, dozens of OTA and coaching camp practices and 13 weeks of regular-season recreation motion, the Patriots offense has but to generate any constructive momentum on a constant foundation. Whether or not it is penalties, turnovers, go safety or play calling, nothing has been constantly ok on that aspect of the ball all 12 months.
Final Thursday’s moribund efficiency was the newest however in no way solely instance of simply how ineffective the offense has been. The Patriots managed simply 242 yards of offense, 57 of which got here on a meaningless subject objective drive to shut out the night time, and Mac Jones was left expressing his frustration on the sideline late within the second half.
This effort got here on the heels of what had been a promising efficiency in Minnesota only a week earlier. Jones threw for a career-high 382 yards on Thanksgiving night time and the Patriots put 26 factors on the board regardless of the loss. Some felt (raises hand) it is likely to be a harbinger of higher days forward, however as an alternative, the Matt Patricia-led assault stays looking for solutions.
Jones clearly feels the identical method most followers do because the cameras caught him yelling at nobody specifically, imploring for the chance to throw the ball downfield extra typically reasonably than the brief stuff that the Payments had little downside coping with.
Based mostly on that night time, it was an inexpensive second-guess. Except for a 48-yard bubble display to Marcus Jones for a landing, the passing assault was toothless all through. With out the TD, Jones accomplished 21 of 35 passes for 147 yards as he consistently checked it down whereas coping with regular stress from the Payments entrance.
However delving a bit additional into the offensive woes sees an offense that turned the ball over at an alarming price earlier within the season when a lot of Jones’ passes went downfield extra typically. Jones was in all probability at his greatest within the Week 3 loss to the Ravens when he attached with DeVante Parker (5 catches, 156 yards) for a number of large performs. Nevertheless, that recreation additionally noticed Jones throw three interceptions, all approaching passes that traveled no less than 15 yards within the air.
It was essentially the most evident instance of the new-found aggressive method on offense resulting in turnovers. Jones tossed seven interceptions over his first 5 video games (he missed three on account of an ankle harm), and was lucky to have a pick-six referred to as again on account of penalty in a win on the Meadowlands towards the Jets.
Since that point Jones has been pick-free over his final 4 begins, however in three of these video games (Jets, Colts, Payments) the offense mustered subsequent to nothing within the passing recreation or in any other case, scoring two offensive touchdowns mixed.
So, therein lies the dilemma. Can Jones constantly run an offense that pushes the ball downfield and produces large performs with out placing the ball in hurt’s method? He was in a position to try this successfully in Minnesota, and maybe that is why he was so upset over not getting the prospect to take action once more towards Buffalo. However after watching the turnovers largely disappear in latest weeks, it could be comprehensible if Invoice Belichick and his offensive employees felt persevering with that development was extra necessary than changing into extra explosive.
The issue is it’s clear the Patriots cannot anticipate to win video games as a result of the opponent cannot rating – as they did of their final two victories. In Minnesota the Vikings put stress on the offense to maintain up, and within the fourth quarter it fell flat on 4 possessions that yielded no factors in a 33-26 defeat. In opposition to Buffalo, the Payments scored on their first three drives, led 17-7, and it felt like 117-7 given the struggles for the Patriots offense.
Except the coaches can discover a solution to have Jones air it out with out risking catastrophe, which hasn’t been simple, it is exhausting to think about this model of the offense maintaining with the remaining opponents.
Marcus Jones has been excellent as a return man this season, posing a risk on each punts and kickoffs. Now the rookie nook is even contributing on offense, ripping off a 48-yard landing off a bubble display that noticed him cut up two defenders with simply Parker out in entrance as blocker.
Jones confirmed his pace and skill to function in area, first discovering daylight after which outrunning Professional Bowl security Jordan Poyer, who had the angle, down the sideline to complete off the landing.
Whereas his presence has injected some electrical energy into the assault, it is also considerably troubling how a lot the Patriots have wanted his offense. During the last 5 video games, Jones leads the workforce in touchdowns with two. This is a listing of landing scorers since New England’s 22-17 win over the Jets in Week 8:
Meaning three of the workforce’s final seven TDs have been scored by defensive gamers That speaks volumes in regards to the Patriots offensive struggles this season.
After an 0-2 begin, the Bengals seemed like they is likely to be one more Tremendous Bowl loser that has a tricky time bouncing again the next season. However since then Cincy has received eight of 10 and moved into place to be once more be within the combine within the AFC postseason race.
Sunday’s win over Kansas Metropolis was spectacular in lots of respects, however it was the play of Joe Burrow down the stretch that actually stood out. Clearly quarterbacks are paid to engineer scoring drives, and taking part in towards Patrick Mahomes the Bengals wanted to place just a few collectively within the 27-24 win.
Burrow actually shined on a drive that did not end in factors, nonetheless, exhibiting why he could also be shifting into the league’s higher echelon alongside Mahomes and Josh Allen. After the Chiefs missed a tying subject objective, the Bengals took over with 3:19 to go and KC in possession of all three timeouts. They then held the ball for the remaining 10 performs to shut out the victory.
The performs that stood out got here throughout an up-and-down sequence for Burrow that noticed him rebound from a uncommon mind cramp. First, Burrow fed Ja’Marr Chase on a fast display and let the wideout do the remainder to transform a third-and-5, then after the Chiefs used their last timeout he handed to Samaje Perine for six yards because the clock wound towards the two-minute warning.
The Bengals let the play clock tick down to 1 earlier than calling timeout with 2:05 left. Coach Zac Taylor correctly referred to as a go, understanding that the two-minute warning would cease the clock whatever the consequence of the play. However Burrow made a mistake and held the ball too lengthy earlier than giving himself up for a sack, seemingly not eager to cease the clock with a throwaway.
However in doing so he turned a possible third-and-4 right into a third-and-11, and the clock stopped regardless for the two-minute warning. Some coaches would have been spooked by such an error, and lots of quarterbacks would have melted as nicely.
Burrow merely dropped into the pocket and fired a laser into a decent window throughout the center to Tee Higgins for 14 yards and the game-sealing first down. An incomplete go would seemingly have led to a subject objective and given Mahomes about 1:45 to orchestrate the game-winning drive. As a substitute, Burrow took a pair of knees to shut it out with some of the spectacular bounce backs you may see from one play to the following.
There may be nonetheless an extended solution to go together with 5 weeks of video games to be performed, and figuring out playoff spots and tiebreakers with a lot nonetheless to be decided is troublesome. At this level the Patriots are on the skin wanting in because the eighth seed behind Buffalo, Kansas Metropolis, Baltimore, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Miami and the Jets, in that order.
The Patriots acquired some assist with losses for the Dolphins, Jets and Chargers, who dropped to 6-6 with their loss to the Raiders. For instance of why it is not at all times simple to find out the postseason at such an early stage, the Raiders win was their third straight and abruptly has Las Vegas at 5-7, only a recreation again of New England and the Chargers. With a win over the Rams in Week 14, Josh McDaniels’ workforce would have the flexibility to maneuver forward of the Patriots with a victory the next week in Vegas in a recreation the league flexed out of its authentic prime time spot and moved to 4:05 p.m. on Fox. Even a Patriots win in Arizona Monday night time would solely guarantee a tie with the Raiders in that state of affairs, and clearly if the Raiders win it could give Vegas the head-to-head edge.
One other factor to contemplate is the well being of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens (8-4) presently lead the AFC North, but when Jackson is out it may open the door for the Bengals to take the division. In that case the Ravens would have the head-to-head edge on the Patriots as nicely because of their Week 3 win in Foxborough.
Once more, there’s loads but to be decided.
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Originally posted 2022-12-07 15:47:22.

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