I’m not watching anymore but it looked like Murray’s hammy was bothering him. The O line wasn’t giving him any time at all but he didn’t seem to have that acceleration to escape he normally has.
Mike Williams just made an amazing catch on 4th and 11 to keep the Chargers alive.
20-17 Bronkeys 2 min warning
Crazy ending in Denver.
Los Angeles Rivers Face 20
I can already hear the fans fixing to call into local sports radio, asking why they waited until now to play Drew Lock.
Seriously Wilson is a joy to watch. The man is glorious.
There are now five teams in the league that are 10-2: Baltimore, Seattle, New Orleans, San Francisco, and New England.
At this point, we really are the worst 10-2 team in the league.
Pretty good breakdown of the game from Jeff Howe in the excellent Athletic.
Echoes most of what I’ve seen studying this game so far.
Howe’s 33 things: There were lots of what-ifs, but there was more failed execution in Patriots’ loss
By Jeff Howe Dec 2, 2019 6
Here are 33 observations from the Patriots’ 28-22 loss to the Texans on Sunday.
1. Guess we’ll start with the offensive line, which was responsible for a season-high 19 disruptions (three sacks, seven QB hits, nine pressures) against Tom Brady. The previous high was 14 disruptions against the Browns in Week 8, so this was a significantly poorer output. But of course, context is important as starting tackles Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon were playing with flu-like symptoms (Cannon had to leave the game for a series in the third quarter and was coughing a lot in the locker room afterward), and center Ted Karras departed with a knee injury that had the initial appearance of an MCL issue, according to a source. And with the Patriots in obvious passing situations throughout the second half, it allowed the Texans to sell out with the rush.
2. Guard Joe Thuney had an uncharacteristically, eye-opening tally with five QB hits and two pressures. The seven allowed disruptions were a career high and the most by any Patriot this season, and he had surrendered a team-low total of eight through the first 11 games. It’s hard to explain what happened unless he flew under the radar with the flu bug.
3. Here’s a concerning trend: Thuney’s seven disruptions exceeded Wynn’s six from Week 12, which matched Cannon’s six in Week 11. The Patriots have been setting season highs in the wrong category in each of the last three games.
4. Karras had a clean sheet before he left during the second series of the third quarter. James Ferentz allowed three pressures in relief.
5. The Texans did an outstanding job of creating confusion over Wynn for the Bradley Roby sack. Roby lined up in the second level between Wynn and Thuney to show his usual coverage of running back James White, but Roby blitzed and left Zach Cunningham to cover White. Wynn thought he was responsible for Cunningham and couldn’t recover in time to impede Roby. Well-designed play against a lineman in his fourth career start.
6. White played a season-high 68 snaps, significantly outnumbering his 44 against the Jets in Week 7. His lack of usage has been quite the mystery this season, though it does follow a pattern of scaling back the workload in recent years to preserve him for the playoffs. White delivered with 177 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns for a game that was easily his best of the season. Good things happen when White is on the field, and that’s been obvious for a long time.
7. The Patriots only failed to score a touchdown on one red zone trip (out of three), but that was a key moment early in the game. So what happened? They opened with Sony Michel’s 2-yard rush to the 5-yard line, which clearly didn’t go according to plan after he amassed 27 yards in his previous three carries. On second-and-goal from the 5, White and Matt LaCosse stayed in to block, leaving just Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers running routes while Brady had a designed roll to the right, which essentially eliminated Dorsett from his view on the backside. Brady’s throw to a covered Meyers fell incomplete, but that was a poor play design with limited options. On third-and-goal, the Texans dropped eight into coverage, doubling White, Edelman and LaCosse. Meyers was also well covered, and Brady rushed his throw to Dorsett in the back of the end zone. Three different types of plays with three different types of missed execution — that’s why Brady sometimes shows so much concern.
8. Obligatory note that N’Keal Harry did a poor job of running through Roby’s coverage on the interception. He’ll hear plenty about that this week from the coaching staff.
9. Brady teed off on his young receivers a series later when Meyers didn’t break off into his scramble drill rules and turn up the sideline, leading to a failed third down. Who knows, maybe the route doesn’t yield a conversion, but the lack of execution of expected assignments is what ticks off the quarterback.
10. Brady wasn’t absolved of guilt, either. He forced some balls, including a throw to a covered Edelman up the left sideline to close the first quarter when LaCosse was wide open underneath on the same side of the field, then another deep ball to Edelman in double coverage on first-and-17 in the second quarter. Brady also short-hopped a throw to an open Meyers late in the second quarter. Benardrick McKinney also easily batted a third-down ball for White at the line that could have gotten the Patriots into field goal position.
11. Brady threw a deep ball to no one during the two-minute drill in the second quarter. It looked like Dorsett was supposed to run a go route but stopped on a deep hitch. The other possibility is Edelman was supposed to run a corner route instead of a post, but that doesn’t seem as likely.
12. The offense has drawn criticism for most of the season at this point, but it’s just weird they haven’t been able to exploit their opponents’ mistakes. For instance, after the defense’s timely stop late in the second quarter, they set up the offense for a chance for a double score around halftime. They instead came away with no points. Even worse was that third-quarter possession included a negated interception, and a Patriots score could have further established momentum, rather than keeping it at 14-3.
13. The Patriots’ failure on fourth-and-inches in the third quarter was subtly set up by a lack of execution on third-and-4 when Mohamed Sanu ran his route just short of the sticks. A better route would have led to a conversion. Speaking of which, Cunningham definitely should have been flagged for pass interference for knocking into Sanu while Brady’s fourth-down pass was in the air.
14. Why not the sneak on that fourth-and-1? That’s not as simple as a play call in the huddle. Brady typically checks into the sneak at the line if the defense leaves an alley. In this case, the Texans had four players over the ball to protect the sneak, and Ferentz was in as the backup center to ramp up the difficulty. Ferentz, by the way, was knocked 3 yards into the backfield on that play, so there was virtually no chance of a sneak being successful.
15. Despite all of the offensive woes, it’s remarkable the Patriots overcame third-and-17 and first-and-30 on their first touchdown drive.
16. Meyers had three catches for 46 yards. He also had two catches for 54 yards negated by penalties — Cannon’s hold and Edelman’s pass interference — and drew a 12-yard defensive pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter.
17. A lot of this was on a lethargic Texans defense, but the Patriots stormed down the field on their final drive. From third-and-13 at their own 18-yard line, the Pats went three plays (plus a defensive penalty) for a touchdown in 62 seconds.
18. Sanu probably shouldn’t be fair catching punts while backpedaling at the 7-yard line. He had a conversation with Joe Judge immediately after that play, but Judge is both the special-teams and receivers coach so that conversation could have been about anything.
19. Stephon Gilmore didn’t exclusively cover DeAndre Hopkins, but his only three targets of the night were against the star receiver. Gilmore allowed two catches for 23 yards on three targets. I didn’t mark Hopkins’ 27-yarder in the fourth quarter on Gilmore and wanted to explain why. The Patriots rushed six, and Jamie Collins showed blitz before backing into coverage, nearly getting into the throwing lane to disrupt the pass. Collins, however, was a step late. Bill Belichick, or any of the recent coordinators, have given the defense the liberty to roam around to disguise their looks before the snap, and that appeared to be what happened with Collins. As a result, Gilmore was playing with deep leverage, thinking Collins would be able to stay under the route with a bracket concept.
20. Both completions Gilmore surrendered occurred on Texans touchdown drives, including a third-and-6 conversion for 10 yards. The pair have squared off three times since Gilmore joined the Patriots. While in coverage, Gilmore has held Hopkins to eight catches on 12 targets for 108 yards, and he has an interception and pass breakup.
21. There were also some zone looks, though they were easily identifiable for Deshaun Watson, including Hopkins’ early 17-yarder when Kyle Van Noy lined up over him. With Gilmore elsewhere and Van Noy over Hopkins, the Patriots might as well have sounded an alarm that they were in a zone. Since the Patriots couldn’t get to Watson, it was an easy pitch and catch.
22. The zones are still necessary elements of the defense, especially against mobile quarterbacks who can take off and run when defenders have their backs turned in man coverage. Just look at what happened when Brady scrambled for 13 yards. Watson could have run to San Antonio with that much space.
23. J.C. Jackson and Devin McCourty were each in coverage for an incompletion to Hopkins. In two games without Jason McCourty, Jackson has only allowed three catches for 24 yards on seven targets.
24. Jon Jones had a great start to the game but hit a rough patch in the third quarter when Kenny Stills beat him for 20 yards on third-and-7 and a 35-yard touchdown on third-and-10, which came a play after Jones’ end-zone breakup thanks to the overturned call. Jones was also flagged for holding.
25. Van Noy was caught trying to jam Duke Johnson, but he didn’t get square contact and got beat for the 14-yard touchdown. It was the first catch Van Noy surrendered since Week 4 against the Bills and just the second of the season. It was the first touchdown Van Noy had allowed since the AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs, which was also the only touchdown he surrendered in all of 2018.
26. There were some serious what-ifs on the Texans’ first touchdown drive. John Simon missed a sack of Watson that would have been a 15-yard loss, but the officials also missed a blatant hold on Adam Butler. Watson escaped, turning what could have been second-and-25 to second-and-10. A play later, Patrick Chung missed a tackle on Jordan Akins, turning a 2-yard gain into a 19-yarder and a third-and-8 into a first down.
27. I pinned Darren Fells’ 13-yard touchdown on Collins, but I’m still not 100 percent sure what exactly should have happened with the post-snap assignments. Here’s how I saw it: Watson was in the pistol with Carlos Hyde behind him, Akins to Watson’s right and Fells to his left. Dont’a Hightower appeared to be responsible for Watson on a keeper, and Ja’Whaun Bentley was set to crash on Hyde on a handoff. McCourty and Jackson were responsible for any backside routes, and Collins appeared to be responsible for Fells. However, once Collins bit on the fake to Hyde, Collins overcommitted to Watson, leaving Fells open and Hightower scrambling to recover in coverage. That’s why it looked like Fells was Hightower’s man, but I don’t believe that was the case.
28. Belichick chose not to use a timeout after Van Noy stopped Johnson for 1 yard on second down prior to the half, which ultimately cost the Patriots 34 seconds when the offense later took over. But I can see the logic, as a timeout could have tempted the Texans to be more aggressive with momentum in their favor and a chance to increase the 14-3 lead.
29. Van Noy would have every right to be ticked off about a missed holding call on Laremy Tunsil on the Stills touchdown, and that anger would be compounded a series later when Cannon was called for holding on virtually the exact same type of infraction. That Tunsil hold would have been huge, erasing the 21-3 lead and setting up third-and-20 from the Pats’ 45-yard line.
30. The Patriots actually did a pretty good job of defending the trick play that turned into the decisive touchdown. Sometimes, you’ve just got to tip your cap to the athleticism and playmaking ability of guys like Watson and Hopkins. There were a lot of layers to the play and the coverage assignments, and the Patriots were in good position across the board. With the fake to Johnson, Hightower, Chung and Chase Winovich had that edge sealed. Simon, Lawrence Guy, Elandon Roberts and Jackson were strong on the right edge with Hopkins taking the handoff in that direction and Jackson eventually cleaning him out. McCourty hung back on the front side in case of a pass to Fells, and Jones stayed steady on the backside where DeAndre Carter motioned into a route. The difference was Hopkins gambled with that pitch to Watson, who had the better angle to the end zone against Roberts.
31. Guy had three more run stuffs and now has a team-high 10 for the season, which also matches his most in three years with the Patriots. Guy has at least one run stuff (tackle for loss or no gain) in six consecutive games and multiple stuffs in three straight. He overtook Collins (eight stuffs) for the lead.
32. The Patriots only had 11 disruptions (three sacks, two QB hits, six pressures), which matched their lowest total of the season. They also only had 11 in the loss to the Ravens.
33. Here are The Athletic ’s film stats from the Patriots-Texans game.
- Stephon Gilmore: 2 of 3, 23 yards
- J.C. Jackson: 0 of 1
- Jon Jones: 3 of 5, 61 yards, TD, 2 pass breakups, holding penalty
- Patrick Chung: 2 of 3, 27 yards
- Devin McCourty: 0 of 1
- Kyle Van Noy: 1 of 1, 14 yards, TD
- Ja’Whaun Bentley: 1 of 1, 10 yards
- Dont’a Hightower: 1 of 2, 8 yards
- Jamie Collins: 1 of 1, 13 yards, TD
- Elandon Roberts: pass interference penalty
- Dont’a Hightower: sack, 2 pressures
- Kyle Van Noy: sack, pressure
- Ja’Whaun Bentley: pressure
- Chase Winovich: sack
- John Simon: QB hit, run stuff, drew holding penalty
- Lawrence Guy: 3 run stuffs
- Adam Butler: pressure
- Danny Shelton: pressure
- Terrence Brooks: QB hit
- Isaiah Wynn: sack, 2 QB hits, pressure
- Joe Thuney: 5 QB hits, 2 pressures
- Ted Karras: clean (departed with knee injury during second series of third quarter)
- James Ferentz (replaced Karras): 3 pressures
- Shaq Mason: 1/2 sack
- Marcus Cannon: 1 1/2 sacks, 3 pressures, holding penalty
- Marshall Newhouse (one third-quarter series for Cannon): clean
- James White: holding penalty
All that matters is how you play in the playoffs. Patriots still have the best defense in the AFC. Seattle has a red hot offense but their defense gets chewed up a lot.