Pats Nation: Week 1 vs. Cardinals Recap
First and foremost, shout out to Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty for hitting that black power fist in pregame ceremonies. 95% of Black America (outside of New England) hates the Patriots, largely due to the fact that Boston is racist and they view us as the "white privilege team" that’s allowed to cheat and get away with it. So to see two of our best players, one of which is a captain in McCourty, come out and rep our set like that on National TV on 9/11 made me proud to be a Pats fan. Back in 2014 when we beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, you couldn’t find a black person who wanted us to win. The tables would probably be turned if that game was played today huh?
Alright, on to the game. What a win by Jimmy G and Bill Belichick's whole coaching staff. Nobody, including me, thought we would win this game with no TB12, Gronk, 2 starting OT's, and Ninkovich, and we somehow pulled it off. This was just a credit to Belichick's ability to get his team prepared no matter who is on the depth chart for that day. It's pretty obvious that the Coach of the Year award is pretty much the "Best Coach besides Belichick" award every year. Although I picked us to lose by 4, in the preview I also said "I wouldn't be surprised if we won this game", and that was just off the strength of the Hoodie himself. After Gronk was a last minute scratch, I got a text from my sister that said "No Brady, No Gronk, what's the point?" to which I responded "just watch".
Jimmy busted out of the gates like Denzel did with that prostitute in 'He Got Game'. After the defense forced the Cards to punt on their first drive, Garoppolo led the Pats to an opening drive TD capped off with a strike to Chris Hogan down the left sideline. Sure, Hogan roasted a rookie in busted coverage, but you would have thought he scored on Revis the way I celebrated that TD. The most impressive part about that play is that it was clearly a run play that Jimmy checked out of once he saw single high safety and 9 men in the box. At that point, all of New England let out a collective sigh and thought, "Wait…we might not get dubbed by halftime"?
Much of the game was what I expected for the most part, aside from our success on the ground and the fact that they didn't scale the playbook back at all with Brady not at the helm. NE relied heavily on winning one-on-one matchups, specifically James White on LB's and whoever was being covered by rookie CB Brandon Williams. Martellus Bennett, filling in for the irreplaceable Rob Gronkowski, only had 3 catches for 14 yards but was easily one of our best players on the field. He's one of the top blocking TE's in the league and it showed, as some of Blount's biggest carries came when we ran behind 88's side of the line. The return of OL coach Dante Scarnnechia is already making a huge impact. He took a makeshift offensive line on the road in a hostile environment and had them performing above expectations. But this game was really won on 3rd down, and Arizona's defense just could not get off the field as the Patriots converted 10/16 times. Jimmy learned first-hand how valuable and how difficult of a matchup Julian Edelman is. Last but without a doubt not least, Pats fans can't take for granted how fortunate we are to have Stephen Gostkowski as our kicker, because that's a bad man right there. On defense, NE went with their usual approach of bend but don't break (although they broke a few times). Logan Ryan tends to matchup with taller receivers in our gameplans, so he was assigned to Fitzgerald and had McCourty over the top. He did about as good of a job as you can do against Fitz, but some guys are just going to eat no matter what. You can put Bruce Bowen on LeBron all you want, but he's still going to score at least 20 and probably more. Butler matched up with Michael Floyd for most of the game, and aside from a go route up the left sideline he was mainly kept in check as well. Hightower didn't have his best game, but he and Collins made sure David Johnson didn't go crazy. DE's Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long also stuck out to me, as Palmer was sacked a few times. Lastly, that 3rd CB I spoke about in the preview turned out to be Justin Coleman, who put the clamps on John Brown.
I feel like I could write about this game all day because there's so much to dissect, but all in all in was a great win. With the rest of the AFC East all losing (Jordan crying faces galore) the Pats are in prime position. Let's see if Belichick can avenge that week 17 loss to the Dolphins last year that cost them home field advantage in the playoffs. We're on to Miami.