Damn, that was tough. I knew it'd be tough going into the game, but you always have that glimmer of hope going into a new season that your team can pull off an upset against one of the best teams in the NFL. Well, I guess it just wasn't meant to be. I'm feeling a lot of negative emotions right now, and hopefully I won't let that affect my thoughts of today's game too much.
First things first. I thought Jake Locker was impressive today. I haven't yet looked at his final stats, but he did a very good job IMO. He completed a high percentage of passes, was accurate on most throws, was energized, pumping up the team, and made all the right decisions.He was hurt by a couple drops on occasion (Washington, Cook). I also didn't have a problem with the one interception he threw. It didn't look to be overthrown and Washington did slow down at the end of his route. The DB also did a great job in batting the ball up so that the Safety could intercept the ball, but in the end, he gave a chance to his WR to make a play and the opportunity was there for Washington to do something.
Now for the negatives. The fumble was horrendous. Locker needs to do a better job to hold on to the ball. This was the second time this has happened this year (I think I counted one in the preseason). Out of all his throws, I thought he had 2 terrible throws, one of which should've been picked off by Devin McCourty.
The WRs looked alright IMO. I was impressed by Wright and Cook looked really good. Washington dropped a couple passes and the others weren't really used much.
Rushing Offense + Rushing Defense:
I have one word to say. Terrible.
CJ looked OK (he did leave some yards out there though). I didn't think he was particularly bad and here's why. Our run blocking was downright awful. I know we are playing one of the better run defenses in the league, but I saw no clear holes for any of our RBs today.
P.S: I don't think CJ will ever play up to the level he did to deserve that contract, but I am judging him based on the player he is now.
As for our Run defense, that was awful. We allowed Ridley to run all over our defense, and on top of that, we missed a bunch of tackles. Griffin... what can I say. 4 missed tackles on my account. I really think that he needs a few tips from Verner, who has the tackling technique down. Verner was terrific in stopping ball carriers at the point of attack.
This was alright.
Our pass rushing was pretty bad, and there's only so much you can do to stop the quick attacking Tom Brady without the pressure. I think one complaint I have is of our DBs playing 5-10 yards off WRs and TEs when they needed only a couple yards to get the first down. This was happening the whole game and really pissed me off. Again, I don't really wanna point anyone out, but Griffin was terrible (Jeez, can you stop biting on play fakes). He allowed one TD and it should've been 2 if Lloyd didn't hesitate and turnaround looking for the ball.
Some other thoughts:
I thought Phill Simms was right on one point. Our starting position was terrible all day and I don't think we started beyond the 20 yard line on any drive. The opposite was true for the Patriots, who often started at the 40 yard line. We need this to be solved.
I think we should immediately stop running on 2nd and long. Seriously, it's frustrating because it almost always leaves us with a 3rd and long. I still don't want us to ditch the run game simply because the Patriots showed us why. With a successful running game, you can run out the clock, which is one reason why the Patriots lost last year in the Superbowl.
I also loved what Locker did in the passing game in terms of medium gains. He made terrific throws of 10-20 yard gains on a lot of plays and we need to integrate more of that in our offense.
Finally, I think we sorely miss a healthy Britt out there. We really need that huge WR to threaten defenses, especially with Locker's tendency to throw high (which I think left Washington prone to that big hit). He also adds another dimension to this offense and with him and Wright on the field at the same time, I really think our passing offense would be very tough to stop.
I know today was tough, and honestly, I was very angry about a lot of aspects of the game. However, we did play one of the toughest teams that took advantage of our weaknesses. This just means that we need a lot to work on. We also need to be proud of how Locker played today for the most part, and I hope he can learn from his few mistakes. Let's hope for a quick recovery for Washington and Locker and that we can turn it around next week. LWSS!