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Home » The Good And Bad From New England Patriots’ Loss To Denver Broncos

The Good And Bad From New England Patriots’ Loss To Denver Broncos

Suddenly, the New England Patriots are in unfamiliar territory.

Following their 18-12 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 6, the Patriots are now 2-3 — the first time since the 2002 season that they hold a losing record this deep into a season.

Not only was the loss to a subpar opponent troubling for a team that looked like a playoff contender over the first few weeks of the season, it was worrisome the manner in which it happened. The Patriots didn’t just lose; they were flat-out dominated.

In fact, one could argue it was the worst offensive showing at home of Bill Belichick’s 21-season tenure in New England. The Patriots didn’t score a touchdown until a little over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and they turned the ball over three times — which directly led to the difference in final score.

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The Patriots just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side of the ball and if it weren’t for two absolutely terrible interceptions thrown by Broncos QB Drew Lock in the final 11 minutes of the fourth quarter, New England never would have stood a chance.

Due to the COVID-19 situation surrounding the Patriots, New England was only able to hold one full practice over the past two weeks since their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4. In other words, since Newton missed Week 5 against the Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19, he had seen just one practice since.

No wonder why Newton and the offense looked so rusty and out of sync.

Here is the good and the bad from the Patriots’ second consecutive loss. They’ll host the 3-2 San Francisco 49ers in Week 7 as they look to get back on track.

The Good


If there was any real sort of positive sign from this game, it’s that the defense is still as stout as ever. Unlike in prior weeks, the Broncos actually had their starters back for this one — Lock and running back Phillip Lindsay. And while they moved the ball well for the majority of the game, they failed to punch the ball in the end zone a single time.

While you can fault some of Lock’s receivers for dropped passes in the end zone, you still have to credit New England’s defense for keeping the Patriots in the game. The Broncos were 0-for-2 in the red zone and they failed to score touchdowns when they were inside the Patriots’ 10-yard-line on two occasions.

Factor in the two interception that the defensive unit forced deep into the fourth quarter — which nearly led to the Patriots’ first comeback victory in the post-Brady BRC era — and the defense definitely deserves credit for this effort.

The Bad

Cam Newton

As loved as Newton has become early in his tenure in New England, the flaws really showed in this loss to the Broncos. Entering the game, the Denver defensive unit ranked 14th in points allowed, 22nd in passing yards allowed and 29th in interceptions.

Yet, they looked like an elite defensive unit in this one. They forced two interceptions on Newton and another forced fumble to boot. Furthermore, they also sacked Newton four times as they completely confused the veteran quarterback and New England’s offensive line throughout the game.

Newton was a pedestrian 17-of-25 for 157 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions and a 51.6 quarterback rating for his performance yet as a member of the Patriots. And while his ability to run — team-leading 76 yards and one rushing touchdown — nearly led the Patriots to a victory, his limitations as a pocket passer were on full display in this one.

Considering the Patriots’ rushing attack will no longer catch NFL teams by surprise as they did during the first few weeks of the season — a mediocre Broncos defensive unit proved this — Newton has to find a way to show some ability as a pocket passer in order to keep the Patriots competitive against better teams.

The Rest Of The Patriots’ Offense

While Newton will obviously receive the brunt of the blame for the offense’s struggles, the entire unit was just as much to blame.

The offensive line was already decimated due to an injury to starting center David Andrews. Furthermore, right guard Shaq Mason and backup center James Ferentz were placed on the COVID-19/reserve list leading into the Week 6 matchup with the Broncos. Matters became even worse in the middle of the game when starting right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor exited due to injury.

The game of plugging in and moving around players along the offensive line was clearly an issue and Belichick acknowledged it following the game. The lack of practice over the past couple of weeks just compounded the issue even further.

Via Steve Hewitt of The Boston Herald:

“It was a big challenge,” Belichick said. “Playing without guys, getting guys hurt, moving them around, had some guys that haven’t played together much, haven’t practiced together much, so we need to get on the field. We need to practice. We need to develop some continuity as a team, but especially there.”

It didn’t help that Patriots receivers failed to gain any sort of separation throughout the game. Julian Edelman had perhaps the worst game of his career as a starter, notching just two receptions for eight yards. Meanwhile, 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry continued to lend credence that he’s a bust with a remarkable zero-catch performance — including running the wrong route on the game-losing incomplete pass.

In fact, the Patriots’ leading receiver was running back James White with eight receptions on nine targets.

Outside of Newton’s quality rushing performance, New England received 19 rushing yards from starting running back Damien Harris. The Patriots running backs combined for just 41 rushing yards on 15 carries for a 2.7 yards per carry average.

If the Patriots want to prove they’re just fine in the post-Brady era and if they want a chance at extending their playoff streak to 12 consecutive seasons, they have a lot to work on.

Time to get to practice, New England.

Source: Forbes – Business

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