|10.14.12 at 8:08 pm ET|
Who is most to blame for the Patriots' loss in Seattle?
- Patriots secondary (47%, 433 Votes)
- Tom Brady (27%, 247 Votes)
- Patriots' play-calling/coaching (26%, 240 Votes)
Total Voters: 919
|10.14.12 at 7:27 pm ET|
The Patriots were shocked by the Seahawks Sunday afternoon in Seattle, as New England held a fourth quarter lead but couldn’t finish off the Seahawks, who posted the 24-23 win over the Patriots.
New England quarterback Tom Brady, who struggled in the rain for large portion of the contest, finished 36-for-58 for 395 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. But it was Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson who stole the show, engineering a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives to help the Seahawks post the victory. The Wisconsin product ended up going 16-fot-27 for 293 yards with three touchdowns in the win.
Here are a few quick notes:
WHAT WENT WRONG
‘¢As was the case three times in the last four games — with the Buffalo game being the lone exception — the Patriots flamed out down the stretch. New England had a 23-10 lead midway through the fourth, but had to sweat it out down the stretch and ultimately ended up losing the game because of their inability to close. It’s becoming a recurring theme for this team, which is now tied with the Jets for first place in the AFC East with New York coming to Foxboro next weekend.
‘¢There were issues all around, but there were several times in the fourth quarter where it appeared that the Patriots were playing not to lose instead of to win. There was tentative play on both sides of the ball as New England struggled in all aspects of the game down the stretch. It was a team loss for the Patriots.
‘¢Defensive back Kyle Arrington struggled in coverage early. In the first quarter, Wilson hit on a 50-yarder down the middle to wide receiver Doug Wilson, beating Arrington in man coverage. Later on the same drive, Wilson and Baldwin hooked up on a 24-yard pass and throw for a touchdown at Arrington’s expense. (It was the first first-quarter touchdown of the season allowed by the Patriots.) Arrington was sent to the sidelines soon after that, and was only seen in packages with multiple defensive backs.
‘¢Brady struggled with his accuracy at several points throughout the afternoon — at one point, Erik Scalavino of Patriots Football Weekly had him for six underthrown passes through the fist three-plus quarters. Much of that was likely due to the rainy conditions, which usually mean slippery footballs.
‘¢In hindsight, the mismanaged clock at the end of the first half for the Patriots was really unforgivable, particularly in a tight game. After Seattle botched a punt at the end of the first half, New England had the ball in the Seahawks’ red zone, but the Patriots were unable to punch it in. Brady tried to fling it toward the end zone with six seconds left, but was called for intentional grounding. The Patriots’ chances of trying a late field goal were wiped from the board, as the penalty necessitated a 10-second runoff, and subsequently, the end of the half. A missed opportunity for New England.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
‘¢The Patriots were able to pile up gobs of yardage in the passing game utilizing Wes Welker (10 catches, 138 yards, one touchdown), Brandon Lloyd (six catches, 80 yards) and Rob Gronkowski (6 catches, 61 yards). Welker in particular had a tremendous game. Seattle defensive back Brandon Browner delivered an absolutely hellacious — but completely clean — hit on Welker on a seven-yard out route late in the second quarter. It was a shot that would have left most on the sidelines for an extended stretch, but four plays later, Welker was back on the field. (It looked like Welker got drilled in the chest.) The slot receiver would go on to haul in an 11-yard reception from Brady to keep the chains moving on third down.
‘¢The New England run defense did a terrific job bottling up Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, with linebacker Brandon Spikes dictating the tempo for much of the afternoon — he delivered a great shot on Lynch on Seattle’s first play from scrimmage at the start of the third quarter, busting right up the middle and tackling him for a four-yard loss. Lynch finished with a season-low 41 yards on 15 carries.
‘¢There were other positive aspects to the New England defense as well. Rob Ninkovich, who spent most of the game at linebacker (with Dont’a Hightower on the shelf) combined with defensive end Chandler Jones to really do a good job getting after Wilson. Jones had a pair of sacks, and Ninkovich was in the Seattle backfield for much of the afternoon. Linebacker Jerod Mayo and Ninkovich forced fumbles on the afternoon.
|10.14.12 at 7:20 pm ET|
The fourth quarter is done. Here are a few quick points from the final frame of action:
‘¢New England had the ball and a 13-point lead midway through the fourth, but again, the Patriots could not close. As was the case three times in the last four games — with the Buffalo game being the lone exception — the Patriots struggled to finish off an opponent. In the end, it cost them. The Seahawks had a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, with the first coming on a Russell Wilson-to-Braylon Edwards play midway through the fourth. That was followed by a Wilson to Sidney Rice scoring connection with 1:18 left in regulation to give Seattle a lead it would not relinquish.
‘¢Part of the reason the Seahawks were able to come back was the fact that Brady was a little sloppy. He tossed his second pick of the afternoon on New England’s first drive of the fourth quarter, with those one coming when defensive back Earl Thomas picked off a pass in the end zone intended for Wes Welker and brought it all the way back to the 20-yard line. Brady struggled with accuracy at times throughout the afternoon — it could be in large part because of the slippery conditions. (Erik Scalavino of Patriots Football Weekly had him with six underthrown balls through the first three-plus quarters.)
‘¢On the following drive, Seattle wide receiver Sidney Rice tossed a pass to Golden Tate, but Pat Chung crashed into Tate, drawing a costly 40-yard pass interference flag and giving the Seahawks some life. However, the defense was able to bail out the team once again — linebacker Jerod Mayo forced a fumble with a hit on tight end Zack Miller and collected the ball on the turnover. (It’s the 10th fumble recovery for the Patriots in the last three games.)
‘¢After the turnover, the Patriots cashed it in with a 35-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski, putting the capper on an eight-play, 53-yard drive and making it 23-10 with 9:25 left in regulation. On the series, there was a 22-yard pass play to Woodhead where the wee running back picked up several yards after the catch. In addition, there was a nifty 23-yard along the New England sideline to Brandon Lloyd.
‘¢The Seahawks answered with a gutty series of their own, maneuvering into the New England red zone and going for it on 4th and three from the New England 10-yard line. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson lofted one for the end zone. Veteran wide receiver Braylon Edward was able to haul in the pass, despite a defensive pass interference call on cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. That cut New England’s lead to 23-17, and set the stage for the Seahawks late heroics.
|10.14.12 at 6:22 pm ET|
The third quarter is done in Seattle. Here are a few quick notes.
‘¢Linebacker Brandon Spikes delivered another great shot on running back Marshawn Lynch on Seattle’s first play from scrimmage at the start of the third quarter, busting right up the middle and tackling him for a four-yard loss. The Patriots followed that up with another sack on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, as linebacker Rob Ninkovich flushed him out while defensive end Chandler Jones cleaned things up, bringing him down for his fifth sack of the season, a five-yarder that would eventually lead to a Seattle punt. (Overall, it was a great quarter for the New England defense, as the Seahawks had just two first downs in the quarter, and they came on back-to-back plays.)
‘¢On the ensuing series, the Patriots answered with an eight-play, 48-yard drive that ended with a 35-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski. The highlight of the sequence was a 27-yard connection to tight end Daniel Fells that got the Patriots to the Seattle 19. Four plays later, Gostkowski banged home the field goal that gave New England a 10-point lead. (The Patriots also got a key seven-yard pickup on a third and 6 when running back Danny Woodhead delivered a great second effort to reach the first-down marker.)
‘¢Late in the third, quarterback Tom Brady tried to float one down the seam to wide receiver Deion Branch, but Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman made a nice play to pick the ball off. It was just the second interception of the season by Brady, and put a stop to a drive that would have effectively ended the game for New England. The Seahawks couldn’t do anything with the gift, but it was a missed opportunity for the Patriots’ offense on that drive, and it broke a string of 179 pass attempts without an interception for the New England quarterback.
‘¢Early in the third quarter, the Patriots announced that running back Brandon Bolden left the game with a knee injury — his return is questionable.
‘¢Through three quarters., the Patriots have limited Lynch to 29 yards on 12 carries.
|10.14.12 at 5:34 pm ET|
We’re at the half in Seattle. Here are a few second-quarter notes…..
‘¢The Patriots opened the second quarter on a steady and sustained drive that began late in the first quarter, mixing the run and the pass on a 15-play drive, 80-yard sequence that took 3:59 and included a 13-yard run from Brandon Bolden and an eight-yard catch by Wes Welker. Aaron Hernandez collected a one-yard touchdown pass on a jump ball from Brady that gave the Patriots a 14-10 lead with 10:33 left in the second.
‘¢Following the touchdown, Brandon Bolden limped off after covering on the kickoff. Meanwhile, the Patriots appeared to replace Kyle Arrington with Alfonzo Dennard in their base defense. On that series, the New England defense forced its first turnover of the game when defensive end Chandler Jones beat Zach Miller on a third-down play midway through the second, knocking the ball away. Rob Ninkovich collected the fumble. It’s the latest in a series of big plays over the last few weeks for Ninkovich, who has forced three fumbles in the last two games coming into this week of action. (It was Jones’ fourth sack of the season.)
‘¢Seattle defensive back Brandon Browner delivered an absolutely hellacious — but completely clean — hit on Wes Welker on a seven-yard out route late in the second quarter. It was a shot that would have left most on the sidelines for an extended stretch, but four plays later, Welker was back on the field. (It looked like Welker got drilled in the chest.) The slot receiver would go on to haul in an 11-yard reception from Brady to keep the chains moving on third down. The drive (11 plays, 41 yards, 4:45) would end with a 25-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski that made it 17-10 with 2:12 left in the half.
‘¢After Seattle botched a punt attempt with 48 second in the first half, the Patriots tried to tack on a field goal, but on a late pass attempt Tom Brady was called for intentional grounding — which necessitated a 10-second runoff — and sent the teams to the locker room with New England holding a 17-10 lead.
‘¢Through one half, Seattle’s premiere running back Marshawn Lynch has been limited to 26 yards on nine carries.
|10.14.12 at 4:46 pm ET|
Some first-quarter notes……
‘¢After there were questions earlier in the week about the health of the Patriots’ starting offensive line, both right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and left guard Logan Mankins got the start for New England. The Patriots got tight end Aaron Hernandez early when he hauled in an eight-yard catch on the first play from scrimmage for New England. (Hernandez also made a nice catch over the middle on a 3rd down situation midway through the first quarter.)
‘¢Offensively, the highlight came in a 46-yard touchdown connection from Tom Brady to Wes Welker on a sweet route that appeared to head down the seam — Welker had a step on the defender, and Brady put it in a place where only Welker could catch it. It capped off a six-play, 82-yard drive that took 1:46 and ended with the Brady to Welker connection to give New England a 7-3 lead. The 46-yarder was the second longest TD reception of Welker’s career, trailing only the 99-yarder in last year’s opener. In addition, it was the first first-quarter touchdown allowed by the Seahawks.
‘¢With the injury to linebacker Dont’a Hightower, the Patriots have shuffled things about when it comes to their front seven. Jermaine Cunningham started at left defensive end, with Rob Ninkovich moving to strong side linebacker — Hightower’s old spot. Ninkovich was able to build on his strong performance of the last two weeks with a strong performance in the first quarter.
‘¢Defensively, the best moment came when Brandon Spikes met Marshawn Lynch in the hole, knocking him back two yards on a 3rd and 1 play, forcing a Seattle field goal. The Seahawks converted their first scoring opportunity of the game on the next play when Steven Hauschka knocked home a 34-yard field goal with 7:35 left in the first quarter, but Spikes’ hit played a big part in making sure the Seahawks were limited to three instead of a potential seven points.
‘¢The defensive low points? Likely when Russell Wilson hit on a 50-yarder down the middle to wide receiver Doug Wilson, beating Kyle Arrington in man coverage. (In addition, on the same drive, linebacker Jerod Mayo swung and missed on a tackle attempt that would have brought Wilson down shy of the first down marker on a third-down rushing attempt. Wilson’s scrambling on that play brought to mind memories of Doug Flutie, as he managed to keep a play alive with his feet.) Later on the same drive, Wilson and Baldwin hooked up on a 24-yard pass and throw for a touchdown at Arrington’s expense. It was the first first-quarter touchdown of the season allowed by the Patriots.
|10.14.12 at 2:42 pm ET|
The Patriots have announced the following seven players are inactive for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks: defensive end Jake Bequette, safety Steve Gregory, offensive lineman Matt Tennant, wide receiver Julian Edelman, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, linebacker Tracy White and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.
Going into Sunday’s game, we already knew four of the players who would be sidelined, as Edelman (hand), Hightower (hamstring), Gregory (hip) and White (foot) were all downgraded prior to Sunday afternoon because of previously known injuries.
Bequette, a rookie, has been the victim of a numbers game over much of the first five contests, and so the decision on him is no surprise. Meanwhile, Tennant has been on and off the roster over the first few weeks, and the fact that he’s out Sunday could mean good things for the depth along the interior of New England’s offensive line. And Hoomanawanui has been dealing with a concussion problem over the last couple of weeks, but has also been surpassed on the depth chart by Daniel Fells.
The list is more notable for those players who are active, namely tight end Aaron Hernandez. The third-year starter out of Florida suffered an ankle injury in a Week Two loss to the Cardinals, and has been on the shelf since then. He practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday and Thursday (he was sidelined Friday), and appears to be ready to give it a go Sunday against the Seahawks.
In addition, offensive linemen Logan Mankins (calf/hip) and Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee) have been hobbled over the last couple of weeks — neither could finish last week’s game against the Broncos, and have been limited over the course of the week — but like Hernandez, appear to be ready to go against the Seahawks.
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