The New England Patriots came out firing in all areas this week. It all started with a 31-yard kick return from Gunner Olszewski, leading to a 65-yard touchdown drive. After the Patriots defense forced a three and out, New York’s day only got worse from there.
Clean football led to the Patriots first win in Foxboro this season. The first half featured 31 points scored, two penalties, zero turnovers, zero punts, while going 3-for-3 in the red-zone. Can’t ask for better football than that. What else went New England’s way in week 7?
What Went Right?
Gunner by far had his best game of the season. Averaging 28.5 yards on kickoff returns and 15 yards on punts, Gunner set the offense up with great field position. Olszewski has started 2021 rather slowly, not accumulating nearly as much yards per return. More games like this will greatly help the Patriots offense.
Jonnu Smith ran a combined 15 routes in Weeks 5 and 6 entering today. It was essential for Smith to be more involved moving forward and that was evident in Week 7. Smith hauled in two catches for 52 yards on five targets with a carry for five yards in the first half. Unfortunately, Smith left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return.
Six trips, six touchdowns. New England dominated inside the 20 which played a large part in scoring 54 points. Another week, another red-zone touchdown to a Tight End. That streak extends to four weeks in a row. Let’s make it five.
Have the Patriots found their pass catching back? Bolden led the Patriots in receiving with 79 yards and a touchdown. Mac Jones felt very comfortable and safe throwing to Bolden. While he should let Damien Harris do the running, Bolden’s receiving is an encouraging sign.
Christian Barmore already looks like a steal of the draft. Coming into this week, Barmore had the highest pass rush win % among rookie interior defensive lineman (12.6%). This week, Barmore scored a career high in pressures (5) with a huge 4th and 1 run stop. Barmore is one of the best members of this front seven as he continues to cause problems for other teams.
What Went Wrong?
Hard to critique today’s game. No turnovers, 54 points, 551 yards, and one punt.
The Patriots are now entering a crucial stretch with many winnable games moving forward. There are no more moral victories, no more protecting the rookies and free agents, it’s time to let it loose.
The Patriots play the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday at 4:25 p.m. EST.
(Photo by David Silverman)