There was amother thriller in Foxboro, Massachusetts in week 4 Sports Debate Network.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots pulled off a comeback against the Houston Texans in an absolute thriller of a game. This week was much like last week as we had a thriller of a game between the Patriots and the visiting Carolina Panthers.
This was one of the more disappointing defensive outings I’ve seen in the Patriots ever. The linebacking group is weak, the defensive line is above average at best and the secondary is underperforming. Matt Patricia and the defense has had a rough go this season so far. They gave up 42 points opening night, 33 points last week and another 33 points in this game and they are allowing these points at home. I don’t believe the the personnel is that bad, but I believe they are still trying to figure themselves out. I think they did a good job of trying to contain Cam Newton in the pocket and make him beat them with his arm, but the secondary blew their assignments multiple times, which led to multiple scores.
Cam Newton had a little bit of a slow start, leading the team to field goal his first possession and then throwing up a duck of an interception to Malcolm Butler. After that interception, Newton really settled down, got the run game going, got himself moving around and collecting 1st downs with his feet and testing the secondary. Cam Newton is in a tough spot because the NFC South is as competitive as ever with Jameis Winston running the Buccaneers, Drew Brees with the Saints, and Matt Ryan running the defending NFC Champion Falcons. A win on the road against the defending champs in their house does wonders for the morale of that team that really needs to grind in a tough division.
The Patriots offense wasn’t bad, but they have been having problems with the offensive line. Tom Brady was getting hit and pressured a lot last week against the Texans and it was the same deal today against the Panthers.
The score was 17-16, Panthers at halftime.
Newton’s defense blew a two touchdown lead in the 4th quarter and it looked like the Patriots were going to be able to pull off the comeback after they sacked Newton on 3rd and long with under 3 minutes to go deep into Carolina territory, but a penalty on Patriots cornerback Stephone Gilmore with a dumb illegal hands to the face call erased the 3 and out and gave the Panthers an automatic 1st down. This would prove costly because the Cam Newton and the Panthers would march down the field into field goal range and Graham Gano would sink the 48-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.
It was a back and forth affair, defenses were lacking for both teams in crucial moments and both teams relied on their quarterbacks to carry them to victory and Cam Newton did just that in Foxboro.
For the Panthers, Cam Newton passed for 316 yards, 3 TD passes and an Interception and also rushed for 44 yards on 8 rushes and a rushing TD, 4 total TD’s on the day. Devin Funchess had 7 catches for 70 yards and 2 TD catches. Kelvin Benjamin had 4 catches for 104 receiving yards.
For the Patriots, Tom Brady had 307 passing yards and 2 TD passes. Rob Gronkowski had 4 catches for 80 yards. Chris Hogan had 5 catches for 60 yards and a TD and Danny Amendola had 6 catches for 42 yards and a TD.
The Panthers are now 2-2 on the season. Like mentioned before, they are in a tough division and need every win they can get. Every team in that division is tough and now that they beat the defending champs they can build off of that momentum and win games against top tier opponents the rest of the way.
As for the Patriots, they need to figure something out quickly because they play against another NFC South team in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Thursday, just 4 days away. The defense needs to clean themselves up in all areas. They are not doing Tom Brady any favors and he can’t always complete the comeback if he’s off the field. Lack of stops, dumb penalties were ultimately the downfall for the Patriots in this game. The offense clawed back into the game and had they been given the opportunity they should’ve had late in the 4th if it weren’t for that penalty on Gilmore, I like their chances of completing the comeback, but that’s not how the game went and now they sit at 2-2 and the Buffalo Bills are 1st place in the division. There’s a chance the Patriots can fall under .500 if they lose to Tampa Bay on Thursday, which would be something we haven’t seen in a VERY VERY LONG TIME! It’s not panic mode for right now, but they need to be better and quickly. Otherwise, the Patriots will be in for a rough season.