Another week and another set of lessons learned for the Patriots. Well, more like luck found so let’s go through the list.
Tom Brady Then: Brady threw two interceptions in a game that he had trouble find his rhythm early against the Ravens last week. He kept the Pats in the game but some big drops in the OT period almost cost them the game.
Tom Brady Now: Brady had a similar game Sunday as he was kept to a modest 159 yards and one TD pass but was glad not to be facing Baltimore’s defense as we went without an interception, though the Chargers defensive was not much kinder as they kept Brady in relative check sacking him five times.
Lesson Learned: Through two games Brady has been kept quiet with only two touchdowns despite completing more than half of his pass attempts. It didn’t help that he had to face two tough defenses in Baltimore and San Diego. Chalk it up to good game plans and luck on the Patriots side in California as they only managed six first downs in the first half, half of which were gifts of San Diego penalties.
Aaron Hernandez Then: Picked up 61 yards on four catches but had some big drops in overtime.
Aaron Hernandez Now: His 54 yards on five catches were essential in moving the chains for the Patriots but could not help them get out of their first half slump. This was also his sixth game without a touchdown.
Lesson Learned: While he continues to lead the team in receiving yards with 355 and is quickly becoming one of Brady’s favored targets Hernandez is still without his first NFL score. Meanwhile, fellow rookie Rob Gronkowski has three, his height advantage giving him making him an easy target in the red zone. Hernandez’s half-plight may be evidence that the Patriot’s offense is perhaps too well spread out. Brady has plenty of targets at his disposal in the middle of the field but when it comes to TD strikes suddenly he can’t find anybody downfield. Keep an eye on this one.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis Then: Managed twenty yards on ten carries along with a TD continued to lose carries to Danny Woodhead.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis Now: Gained 24 yards on 11 carries and scored in his fourth consecutive game, but he too was snake bit in the first half as he and Woodhead only managed 27 rushing yards before the break. Green-Ellis was also charged with picking up one yard on a crucial fourth quarter fourth down and came up empty leading to a turnover.
Lesson Learned: Green-Ellis is losing more and more carries to Woodhead as the Patriots do their best to keep their offense from being centered around any one player. Green-Ellis has also worked on a respectable scoring streak though neither he nor Woodhead have proven to be completely dependable for anything other than eating time and moving chains, which may be the most you can ask out of a Patriots running game.