After a lackluster start for the Patriots defense, that allowed Matt Cassel and the Minnesota Vikings to march right down the field and into the End Zone on the opening drive, the Patriots defense stepped up, and didn’t allow the Vikings to score another point, as the Patriots defeated the Vikings on Sunday, 30-7.
The opening drive for the Vikings offense was very reminiscent of the Dolphins first drive of the game last week against the Patriots defense, and like the Dolphins they had an early 7-0 lead. After a 3 and out from the Patriots offense, Devin McCourty picked off Matt Cassel at the New England 39 yard line, and returned it 60 yards, to the Vikings 1 yard line. Stevan Ridley powered it into the End Zone to tie the game, and from there on, it was all Patriots.
With less than 30 seconds left in the 1st half, and with the Vikings trailing by just 10, and trying to lower the gap to just a touchdown by going for a field goal, Chandler Jones stepped up, blocked the kick and returned the ball himself 58 yards to score a touchdown. Instead of the game being separated by 7, the Patriots took a 17 point lead into the locker room. The blocked field goal was the Patriots first blocked field goal since 2010.
In the second half, the Patriots defense didn’t fold like they did last week, and shut out the Vikings. The defense had four interceptions against Matt Cassel including one by the new and hyped Patriot, Darelle Revis. The defense was also able to bring the pressure, and sacked Cassel 6 times. Even when they couldn’t sack him, they made him throw quickly.
The Patriots offense didn’t do much in the 2nd half, and only put up 2 field goals. The lack of offense and offensive touchdowns led Tom Brady to speak out after the game, and let his dissatisfaction known.
“I’m glad we won, I just wish we’d go out there and play like we’re capable of” said Tom Brady during his post game press conference. “A lot of guys contributed. A lot of great plays were made. Hopefully offensively we can do a better job next week.”
Although his comments are similar to what Bill Belichick expresses after any win (we still need to work on things and get better), Brady had a right to complain about his offense, at least about his receivers. Brady only completed 15 passes, and 6 were to Julian Edelman, and 4 were to Rob Gronkowski. Edelman looked like he did last year in this game, and was Brady’s go-to guy when finding a receiver. He also performed well on Special Teams, by averaging over 15 yards on punt returns.
Despite finding Edelman often, Brady and the rest of his receivers didn’t seem to be on the same page for most of the game. For Tom Brady to be Tom Brady, he needs receivers to be in sync with him.
The running game wasn’t an issue for the Pats offense. They rushed for a total of 150 yards, and Ridley himself rushed for 101 yards, with ZERO interceptions.
The win was Brady’s 149th career win which puts him in 3rd all time on the win list for Quarterbacks, and it was Bill Belichick’s 200th win.
Next up for the Pats is the Raiders at Gillette next Sunday