Boston – The Patriots took a trip to Germany, but sadly, they didn’t leave their struggles back home in America.
Did they have some good moments? Yeah, technically. But let’s be real, when the Patriots travel all the way to Europe and only manage to score six points, it’s not a great look. So, brace yourselves, because we’re about to dive into the lows of this 10-6 loss to the Colts.
First up, the quarterback. He was benched for the third time this season, which led to Bailey Zappe being thrown into the mix for a potential game-winning drive. Jones struggled in the red zone, nearly throwing a pick when Hunter Henry had a shot at a touchdown, and actually throwing an interception while underthrowing a wide-open Mike Gesicki in the end zone on another drive. His stats might say 15-for-20, 170 yards, but don’t be fooled. Jones was far from his best in this game, and now leads the league with 10 interceptions. His starting position might be in jeopardy.
Next, the offensive line. They didn’t do Jones any favors. He was sacked five times in the first half, with four of those sacks coming on third down. Everyone but practice squad call-up Conor McDermott had a hand in the barrage of first-half sacks, so there’s plenty of blame to go around.
Then there’s Chad Ryland. Missing a 35-yard field goal is a big no-no, especially for a rookie kicker. That miss came in the third quarter and would have cut Indy’s lead to 7-6, after the Patriots had forced the first turnover of the game.
Lastly, special teams and Bill Belichick. Special teams used to be a strength of the Patriots, but those days seem to be over. The kickoff team allowed a 42-yard kick return just after the Patriots had cut Indy’s lead to 7-6. The Colts only needed to move the ball 20 yards before getting into field-goal position, and they did just that, stretching the lead to 10-6 in the fourth quarter.
Belichick made a questionable call by going all-out to block a punt in the first half, leaving Demario Douglas floating around in no-man’s land as a safety instead of having him back for a fair catch. That decision didn’t lead to a blocked punt, and it led to the Patriots losing about 18 yards of field position.
The kick return team also started the game on the back foot, with Ty Montgomery returning a kick out of the end zone, and he only made it to the 20-yard line.
Add in the Chad Ryland miss, and it was another disappointing day from special teams.”
So, Hunter Henry, the usually reliable tight end, had a bit of a mishap in the first half. He lost control of the football after catching a pass. Luckily, David Andrews was quick to recover the loose ball, so no harm done, but it wasn’t Henry’s finest moment.
The team’s third-down offense wasn’t too great either. Despite efforts from the QB and the O-line, they only managed a 6-for-14 conversion rate. With Jones in the game, they were 5-for-12 on third down.
Now, let’s talk about the wide receivers. The Patriots had Demario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton, Kayshon Boutte, and Jalen Reagor on the field. Douglas had a decent game with six catches for 84 yards, but if you take away one catch and 30 yards from a play before halftime, his stats aren’t as impressive. The other four receivers? They only managed two receptions and 20 yards between them. Not great.
Smith-Schuster also had a couple of penalties, a false start and an illegal shift, which cancelled out an 18-yard run by Ezekiel Elliott.
The defense did alright, limiting the Colts to just 10 points, their lowest score of the year. But they let the Colts convert both of their fourth-down attempts, one of which led to the only touchdown of the game. They also struggled to contain Gardner Minshew’s scrambles, which led to some significant completions for the Colts.
On a brighter note, Jahlani Tavai and Myles Bryant made a great play in the second half. Tavai tipped a pass from Minshew, and Bryant swooped in for an interception. That was the only turnover forced by New England.
Ezekiel Elliott and Rhamondre Stevenson had good games too. Elliott rushed for 54 yards and caught two passes for 34 yards, while Stevenson rushed for 88 yards. Mac Jones also contributed 25 rushing yards.
Finally, let’s give a shoutout to Kyle Dugger. He made a fantastic play when he stopped Jonathan Taylor at the line of scrimmage on a third-and-1. That led to an Indianapolis punt. So, not all bad, right?