Time Out For Sports Talk – Running A No-Huddle Blog
Just like Chip Kelly’s offense down in Philly (and Tom Brady when he has most of his offense around), this space plans to churn out Patriots recaps/previews every week in a quick fashion.
FIRST QUARTER: What to like about Sunday’s win in Buffalo
Todd: Let’s start with Danny ‘Wes who?’ Amendola, who caught 10 passes for 104 yards in his Pats debut, most of them while nursing a sore groin. But of course, said groin soreness serves as a reminder of why most Pats fans have their doubts this guy can step into Welker’s role in the first place. Julian Edelman (another Welker alternative) also performed well with 7 catches, 79 yards, two touchdowns and no serious injuries. Also liked seeing Shane Vereen pick up a fumbling Stevan Ridley and amass over 100 yards on the ground (and 159 total yards), particularly since we found out he was playing the entire game with a broken wrist that will unfortunately keep him out until Week 11. Finally, I liked the way the defense played, especially in the fourth quarter which gave Brady the opportunity for the comeback victory.
Mike: I think the most basic thing was the simple fact that the Patriots won the game. It was touch-and-go there for a while, but when Brady got the ball with time running out, was there any doubt they were going to drive down the field and win the game?
As Todd said, the defense played tough, and they are going to need to keep that level of play going all season long, because this offense isn't going to pile up the points like the Pats have in years past.
SECOND QUARTER: What not to like about Sunday’s win in Buffalo
Todd: As referenced above, I did not like Amendola's groin yelling ‘OUCH’, nor did I like seeing Ridley cough up the ball twice after I gave him all sorts of props last week (not to mention the Pats now need him more than ever). The Pats also committed a third turnover (way too many), the INT off Zach Sudfeld’s hands the one time the rookie was targeted. Also didn’t like that Brandon Spikes needed to leave the first game of the season in the second quarter because he was dehydrated…how does that happen? Finally, what happened to the offensive line I boasted about in last week’s season preview? Can’t the Pats wait at least a few games into the season to make my analysis look ridiculous? If Brady is going to get hit every week as much as he did in Buffalo on Sunday, then Ryan Mallett better keep his arm loose.
Mike: There was actually a lot not to like on Sunday. First and foremost, the fact that it seemed that only Amendola and Edelman were the only two receivers that could get any kind of production going is a huge concern. As the game went on, it seemed that Brady lost all confidence in his other receivers, and only targeted Amendola and Edelman. With Amendola's injury history, it's going to be very easy to shut down such a one-dimensional passing attack.
Also, as much as I hated seeing Ridley cough up the ball, I was almost equally frustrated with his benching. Sure, he made a huge mistake, but pulling him out of the game so quickly is going to erode the confidence of a player that the Patriots need, especially since Vareen is going to be out until Week 11 with a wrist injury.
THIRD QUARTER: Patriots-Jets preview and predictions
Todd: No Vereen, no Amendola, still no Gronk…so who does Brady intend to target Thursday night? Could Matthew Slater see a few snaps on offense this week? Seriously, if the Jets defense can’t figure out they should triple-team Edelman all night, Rex Ryan should be fired immediately following the game. No question the Pats’ depth at the skill positions will be severely tested, but hopefully that gives guys like Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce the opportunity to bounce back from last week. Despite the short bench, I still see the Pats winning because Brady with possibly zero receivers is still better than rookie QB Geno Smith with anybody…I mean, it has to be, right?? How about the fact that Rex’s Jets are 0-4 at Gillette in the regular season? Methinks this will be one of those truly ugly games we’ll all try to forget about as soon as possible. Pats 17, Jets 13.
Mike: Todd, I would keep your cell phone handy, because the Pats might be calling you to line up at receiver this week! But seriously, this is going to be an interesting night for New England, as the newbies on offense are going to have to step up and actually catch some balls!
Also, referencing what I said earlier, I'm going to be curious to see how Ridley responds to his benching in Week 1. He is going to be the primary rushing threat against the Jets, let's hope he's figured out how to hold onto the ball!
As for a score, there is no way I am going to predict a Jets win, but I will acknowledge that it isn't out of the realm of possibility. But I'll take the Patriots 21-10.
FOURTH QUARTER: Three other games we each like this week (we’ll keep track of how we’re doin’ so you the reader don’t have to)
Todd: My theme this week is matchups where both teams share a city…sort of. First, I like the Ravens (who I swear back in the early 90’s were the Cleveland Browns, although I know Mike will disagree) to bounce back from their mile high mauling and beat the current Browns; next, I’m taking the Houston Texans to defeat the team that used to play in their city, the Tennessee Titans; and for anyone who remembers the AFL, I’m taking the Kansas City Chiefs (formerly the Dallas Texans) to beat them Cowboys. I’m also hoping the Chiefs will opt to wear white jerseys for their home opener at Arrowhead and force the Cowboys to dig out their rarely seen navy blue tops.
As for the much-hyped battle of the Manning brothers, I’ll leave that game and pick to Mike, if he so chooses.
Mike: OK, I'll take on the Manning Bowl, I don't think there's much of a question here, Peyton and the Broncos are going to blow out little Eli and the Giants. Also, I'll take the Eagles over San Diego and the Colts over Miami.
EXTRA INNINGS: Because the Red Sox continue to need some love
Todd: Need to spare a little space for the Sox again this week because it’s hard for me to fathom that just over three weeks ago the Sox and Tampa Bay Rays were tied for first place. Now the Sox are up by a staggering 9 ½ games and their magic number to clinch the AL East is down to single digits. It's also highly likely they'll finish with fewer losses at season's end than the 69 games they won all of last year.
As for the individual kudos, Koji Uehara has set a new team record retiring 34 consecutive batters (and still counting; Ellis Kinder held the previous record of 32 back in 1952). Another team record was set last night when the Sox hit their seventh pinch-hit home run of the season, a grand slam by Mike Carp in the tenth inning. Carp's blast was also significant in that it was the first pinch-hit grand slam ever hit in extra innings in well over 100 years of Sox baseball. If you’re yet to be excited by what these guys are doing, I need to see if you have a pulse.
Mike: I love what the Sox are doing this year, and the fact that they are putting away the division race, at least for me, completely makes up for last year's debacle.
We've got meaningful October baseball back, it's a beautiful thing!