By: Tom Cloutier
Brady looked good, not great. Patriots defense looked shaky, not awful. Luckily Nick Folk looked like he'd never kicked a ball in his life.
It’s a miracle! The Patriots defense didn’t completely look like a pile of hot garbage on the field tonight. While hot garbage isn’t exactly a high bar to set, anything is better than their recent games. The D was highlighted by some impressive play by veteran safety, Patrick Chung. The Pats managed to allow just 14 points tonight, which was the first game this season that the defense actually held a team to under 20 points. Chung’s pass breakups aided in the victory, but the true hero for the Pats was dressed in all red tonight. Nick Folk, the Buccaneers’ kicker (for now), missed not one, not two, but three field goals tonight. The first field goal attempt came at the end of the first half. Tampa Bay started on their own 27, and were given a free 30 yards by penalties from the patriots. Moving them in position to have Folk miss a 56 yarder. The Bucs fans can’t get too upset, 50 yarders can be hard for some kickers, even though he did miss about 50 yards to the right. But apparently 49 yards is hard too, and so is 31, as Folk failed to convert on any of his chances. The fans may even start missing Roberto Aguayo.
On offense, the Patriots looked a bit un-Patriotlike. Brady managed just one touchdown pass to Hogan in the first quarter. The other points came from Gostowski who went 4 for 4 on field goals tonight. Brady still threw for over 300 yards tonight and the run game picked up another 111 yards.
The game once again came down to the wire, the Pats defense failed to get a stop on the final drive until it mattered, allowing Winston to march down the field to the 20 before finally breaking up his final pass to secure the win. The defense hasn’t answered all the questions yet, but it appears they are trending upward for the first time this season. The Gronk-less offense looked lackluster, but was good enough to beat the Bucs tonight. New England can’t count on the opposing kicker to completely blow the game every week, so improvements still need to be made on both sides of the ball.
Source: (Tampa Bay Times)