Football is finally back. Many looked at yesterday as practically a national holiday as they were able to say those words out loud again and as for New England Patriots fans, things were back to normal. It was another opener and another victory for Bill Belichick and his 2018 squad.
With that, let us go through all the winners and losers from the Patriots week one 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans.
It should be noted that along with Brady’s recognition as a week one winner, Max Kellerman took the loss. Kellerman sat back with the rest of the world and watched Tom Brady be Tom Terrific in a game that for two years Kellerman has been predicting to be a “cliff game.” He finished with a stat line of 277 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception as a passer rating of 102.2. He was nothing short of the same old Tom Brady that we all know and watch.
It almost feels as if that these first two winners are always on the winner’s side of things, doesn’t it? Well, after an offseason of nothing but criticism with smoke and mirrors in front of Gronkowski’s face, he showed once again just why he is the best tight end in football. Gronk finished with an impressive stat line of 7 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown. He is pretty good, isn’t he?
Much has been made of the Patriots not having a very talented wide receiving corps, but Dorsett continued his strong start to the season after a strong preseason by catching his first touchdown as a Patriot to go along with 7 catches and 66 yards. Brady seems to trust him, and he will need to continue to be this good going forward.
I know what many of you may be thinking. Lamar Miller could get whatever he wanted all game, they still let up 20 points and this defense was by no means perfect. Yet, if you compare it to last year you’ll realize that this first game was a major improvement all around. The pass rush was magnificent from the get-go as it registered three sacks and forced Watson into two fumbles. Stephon Gilmore continues to struggle with penalties but also led the team in tackles, had an interception and had two pass deflections. All in all, there was a lot to like about the defense’s performance.
With Julian Edelman out the first four games, Hogan was a guy that many believed would be targeted heavily in the early going. He certainly did not look like the number one wide receiver yesterday. He was targeted five times but caught only one ball for 11 yards. Brady seemed to favor Gronkowski, Dorsett and James White in the passing game but could use Hogan going forward.
Trent Brown was spectacular holding this absurdly strong defensive front seven at bay at the starting left tackle position and the rest of the front core was just as good but when Waddle went in, it was clear he had some issues. Most people have issues blocking J.J Watt but Waddle was significantly worse than other options. It will be best to stay with Marcus Cannon as much as possible.
Much was made of the acquisition of Jason McCourty and Adrian Clayborn but they both look like they’ve lost their way in the depths of the depth chart. The good news is that they have plenty of time to add contributions, but they had a combined one tackle and weren’t really players in the game much at all.
This wraps up the first week of winners and losers and there was a lot to like. Jonathan Jones looked good and could have been considered a big winner as did Rex Burkhead and James White but there is plenty of time for them to show up in that column in the future.
Until next week and may the Brady/Belichick run continue to reign.
-Jared Talbot is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @JaredTalbot_