On The Tailgate I picked the Pats to go into Jacksonville and win, I was wrong…again.
The Jags got their AFC Championship “revenge”, defeating the Patriots 31-20 on Sunday, and you know what? I don’t really care.
Yeah it sucks to lose but getting out of that hellhole healthy was the most important thing (Trey Flowers and Pat Chung each got a concussion but other than that everyone was in one piece).
I don’t want to call that a “scheduled loss” because I hate that term but it almost looked like Belichick and the Pats went into that game with a laid back, “vanilla” gameplan.
The offense didn’t seem very focused and it almost looked like Rob Gronkowski was a decoy in this game with just two grabs for 15 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball the Patriots went back to looking like the team from Super Bowl LII that made us all call in sick the Monday after the big game. This time around they made Blake Bortles look like an elite quarterback as he sliced and diced the Pats’ D for 376 passing yards and four TD’s…yikes.
I’m not going to sit here and try to find bright spots from that day but there is one thing that has been pissing me off this week and that’s the misconception by “dumb fans” that Stephon Gilmore played bad.
Don’t you dare put him in the same class as Eric Rowe.
Gilmore played his balls off in this game and was actually really good. Yeah he gave up a touchdown to Moncrief but you tell me which corners in this league were going to break that pass up? Gilly was right in the former Colt’s receiver’s face, it was a perfect pass and catch by the Jags.
Two of Gilmore’s standout plays on the day were his “peanut punch” to force a key fumble in the second half and also his tackle on a scrambling Bortles who nearly picked up a huge first down late in the game. The tackle was a great heads up play for two reason. 1.) Gilmore came off his coverage at the right time to keep Bortles a yard short of the first down and 2.) as Bortles slid Gilmore hit him perfectly without contacting the head of the QB which would’ve induced an easy 15 yard penalty (I’m glad the refs ate the flag on this play, good job boys).
Next, let’s talk about some Pats offense.
As I mentioned before the game-plan just didn’t feel quite right. If this was a key late November game or a playoff game we would’ve seen a much more aggressive Patriots offense. Maybe the 95 plus degree temps had something to do with it as well, I don’t know.
My only real bright spot on this side of the ball for the Pats is Phillip Dorsett once again. Dorsett didn’t do anything crazy but he showed some consistency from last week as he had five catches for 44 yards, Tom Brady’s number two target on the day behind the trusty James White.
White was also a semi bright spot in this game with seven grabs for 73 yards but that’s what he usually does. Sony Michel made his Patriots debut finally and you know what, he was alright. The Georgia Bulldog rushed 10 times for 34 yards and showed a little of what he can be. He’s just easing into the system after coming off the injury report so I expect him to be even better this week in Detroit.
All in all, this game sucked and I think it’s pretty meaningless at this point in this season. Other fans may call me salty but I call that smart, this is a 17 plus week marathon not a two week sprint, we’ve got a TON of football left.