The Good, the Bad, and the Dak hosting the New England Patriots (10/1/2023)

The Good:

1. Defensive Scores: Forcing turnovers on defense is always great, it's even better when the defense manages to score on those defensive plays... One being forcing a fumble from Mac Jones and then running it in... the other being a pick six of Mac Jones later in the same quarter as the fumble that Jones lost.

2. Rush Defense: This was the biggest weakness last week, and while the Patriots did get some nice runs at times in the game, unlike last week, the defense was able to swarm to the ball and made a few tackles for loss on Patriots running backs. In terms of yards per carry, their leading rusher was Zeke, but he only averaged 2.7 yards per rush. Every other runner averaged fewer yards than that per carry.

3. Jake Ferguson: The replacement for Schultz at TE had a great day... Targeted seven times, had seven catches and caught them for some huge gains.

4. DaRon Bland: He had a great day in coverage... two picks, one the pick six.

5. Team Rushing: No one rusher did particularly great, as the leading rusher was Pollard with 47 yards on 11 carries, but the team attacked the Patriots defense fairly well in the ground game and as a team got over 100 yards. One could argue that a lot of this came through some chunk plays from Lamb and Turpin, but they still contributed to a good team effort.

6. Special Teams: They played a big role in the win, with Aubry kicking three field goals, but that wasn't the end of it. Anger also had a 2 pt pass to Golston after the Mac Jones fumble... (maybe use Anger at QB inside the 20) and Tolbert had a great tackle on punt coverage that would set up the Patriots drive that lead to the Jones fumble.

7. Cooper Rush: He only threw two passes... but he completed them and for 20 yards and a 108.3 QB Rating.

The Bad:

1. Red Zone Scoring: Yes, the team moved the ball well between the 20s and that was great... but as was the case last week, once inside the New England 20, the offense largely dried up. The runs didn't work as well, and Dak wasn't moving the ball as well... It then left us with two plays where we got into the end-zone inside the 20. One being the two-point conversion that Anger had to Golston and the other being the Luepke run in the fourth quarter.

2. First Drive Defense: The defense had a great day as a whole... but the Patriots were able to attack it quite well on their first drive, with multiple big plays made by Jones on the way to field goal, and with his only incompletion being the last pass thrown.

The Dak:

He was efficient and generally had a good day against a good defense. The Patriots run a defensive scheme that would be another of the sorts of defenses that one would expect Dak to struggle with... playing zone coverages and playing to Belichick's scheme. All of which is something that we would expect more incompletions and potentially even turnovers from Dak from... But that didn't happen and between the 20s, Dak was great. And on the whole, he had a good day. No picks, one 20 yard TD to Lamb, converting most of the third downs, and completing 82% of his passes for 261 yards. That's all very good.

However, as with last week, he seemed to struggle within the red zone. He had more incompletions there, and it looked like those passes were forced high that took receivers out of the play, or settled on plays that were too "cute" and thus wasted time leading to sacks, one of which turning the ball over on fourth down. And that's a point of issue that Dak will need to continue to improve at... for he didn't throw a pick, which is an improvement from last week, but not much of one.

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