Pats Defense Falters Again In Last-Second Loss To Panthers
For the fourth straight week, the New England Patriots defense has been about as bad as bad can be. Like it did in the first game of the season that fact cost the team a win today, as they fell to the Carolina Panthers 33-30 at Gillette Stadium.
Making HOFers- Every week, it seems as though the Patriots defense is turning the opposing quarterback into a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. Sunday was just another example, as Cam Newton, who is a former MVP and definitely has talent but who also has looked very unlike himself up until today so far this season, absolutely gashed the Pats. Newton came into the game averaging about 189 pass yards per game with two touchdowns and four picks. He hung 316 yards and three scores on 22 of 29 passing on the Pats, Sunday, along with 44 rush yards and a score on the ground. It just another example of what zero pass rush and continual miscommunication in the secondary will get you, if your the New England defense.
Just Plain Bad- As it's been stated plenty of times above and throughout the first quarter of this season, the Pats defense has been just plain bad. Today, they continued to fuel that story line, as they gave up 444 total offensive yards to a team playing with a banged up quarterback, without the quarterback's top target, tight end Greg Olson, and without a top interior lineman. The New England defense had no answers for Carolina, who converted six of nine third downs and made the Pats look incompetent again.
Gil-Less- One main source of poor play, Sunday, was free agent addition Stephon Gilmore, who made a handful of mistakes throughout the game. First off, Gilmore continued to have miscommunication with his teammates in the secondary, as he seemed to be out of position or doing the wrong thing on a couple of plays during the game. Each time the miscommunication popped up, Carolina hit the Pats with a big play. Gilmore also committed a pair of hands-to-the-face penalties, including one that kept Carolina's game-winning drive alive though the Pats had appeared to stop the Panthers and force a punt, which really puts him in the doghouse. Now, it should be noted that both penalties, especially the one on the game-winning drive, were incredibly ticky-tacky and could have easily not been called. It still doesn't excuse him for getting the second one called against him, however, as he has to know they are willing to make that type of call having pulled the trigger on him earlier in the game. Finally, Gilmore just wasn't that good in coverage on the day either. All in all, Stephon has been playing this season so far like the back of his jersey should read Gil-Less rather than Gilmore.
Not Much More- From the offense's perspective, there is not much more the Patriots could have done to win that game. They scored 30 points, again, with Tom Brady passing for 307 yards and two scores. They came back from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to tie up the game with just over three minutes left in the game. They showed resilience and resolve all game long and, with the exception of some poor pass protection early, truly did just about all they could to help contribute to a potential win. So, if you're looking to blame someone for the loss, look away from the offense. There's not much more they can do.