Keys to a Patriots Victory Review: Week 11
The New England Patriots bounced back Sunday afternoon and earned a tough, road win in Philadelphia. It wasn’t even close to the high-powered offensive show these two teams put on in the Super Bowl two years ago, but New England did just enough to come out with a victory this time around.
Let’s break down the three keys to a victory that we laid out for the Patriots ahead of the Week 11 game.
1) Doug Pederson vs Bill Belichick
The Patriots gave up a field goal on the Eagles' first possession and then gave up a 95-yard touchdown drive on the second possession which led to a 10-0 deficit early. The 95-yard scoring drive by Philadelphia was the longest drive given up by New England all season.
After that drive, the CBS camera crew showed Belichick huddled with the whole defense, and after that Carson Wentz and the Eagles were shut down. The Boogeymen ended up getting to Wentz, sacking him five times and forcing a fumble. Doug Pederson was not able to dial up any Philly Specials this time around.
A key for the Patriots was late in the game and on big third downs, they switched Stephon Gilmore onto Pro Bowl Zach Ertz. It is always great to have a cornerback that can shut any opponent down at any time.
2) N’Keal Harry
Well we finally saw N’Keal Harry in live game action, Harry did not have much of an impact as he finished with three catches for 18 yards in his NFL debut. It was nice to see him finally make his NFL debut. His impact will only grow from here on out.
The Patriots still struggled on offense and especially in the red zone. New England settled for three field goals in the first half and had to resort to a trick play for their lone touchdown of the day. Marshall Newhouse continues to be an issue on the offensive line, so the return of Isaiah Wynn can’t come soon enough.
The frustration was evident on the face of Tom Brady as he cut his post-game press conference short after only a few questions. The only bright side for the offense is that it can only get better from here.
3) Contenders or Pretenders
After two weeks of questions about if the defense is for real or not, the Patriots answered all those questions.
After the Week 9 debacle against the Ravens, questions arose if the Patriots defensive performance through the first eight games was the result of a soft schedule. The game against the Eagles should silence the doubters.
After giving up 10 quick points, the Patriots stifled Philadelphia's offense and smothered all Eagles receivers. Wentz completed 20-of-40 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown. Ertz had nine catches, but had nowhere near the impact that he had in Super Bowl LII.
New England's defense is for real and now the offense needs to help out the defense. Belichick always says the real season starts after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is approaching and now the final stretch of football is upon us.