A low scoring win is not something Patriots fans are used to, but that is exactly what happened Thursday night.
The most important stat of the game was the four turnovers the Patriots forced– all coming in timely situations. The defense played its best in the fourth quarter when they were needed most. They managed to protect a three-point lead, thanks to three interceptions (two by Talib) and a forced punt.
Without a terrific game from the defense, the Patriots surely would have not won. The offense played horribly, as they only had 232 total yards and nine first downs the entire game– the lowest they’ve had since Bill Belichick has been the head coach of the team.
And if there is any question as to whether Tom Brady missed his 2012 receiving core, they were answered Thursday, as Tom Brady showed obvious frustration the with his new receivers. He had under a 50 percent completion rate for the first time since 2009. Most of it, though, was not his fault. His receivers had four drops, and two of those could have gone for touchdowns.
Everybody on offense looked bad except for Julian Edelman. Edelman caught 13 balls, which accounted for over 68 percent of Brady’s completions. He also had 78 receiving yards, with some of those coming on key third downs. Without the help of Edelman, Brady would have just completed 29 percent of his passes– an obvious sign that the Patriots receivers are not where they need to be at this point of the season.
The Patriots are very lucky to have a 2-0 record. Both games they played were very close games against sub-par opponents who started rookie quarterbacks. If it were not for the play of the defense, they surely would have lost both games. The Patriots will have one more opportunity to try and straighten out their offense next week against another weak opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but after that, the schedule gets tougher as they have three straight weeks against seasoned playoff contenders (Falcons, Bengals, Saints). If the offense does not find its rhythm by then, don’t expect the defense to save them like they did on Thursday night.