The New England Patriots visited our Nation’s Capital on Sunday with a singular focus. In a city that is best known for its political battles, the defending Super Bowl Champions re-established their agenda of dominance on both sides of the ball. In the process, they preserved their pristine record by defeating the Washington Redskins 33-7.
Playing their second consecutive road game in as many weeks, the Patriots found the confines of FedEx Field to be much more hospitable than last week’s hostile environment of Orchard Park, New York. Pats jerseys and ‘Brady’ chants were abundant in Landover, Maryland on Sunday afternoon. In fact, the vibe of this game seemed to more aptly embody that of a home game. New England fans in attendance would, once again, head home with a smile.
Despite absorbing four sacks from a pressurized Washington defense, Tom Brady completed 28 of 42 passes. He threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Brady connected with Julian Edelman on a six-yard strike for his first score of the day. In the third quarter, he found Brandon Bolden on a 29-yard seam route. Brady closed his day with a 10-yard touchdown toss to tight end Ryan Izzo, who was wide open in the endzone.
New England was also able to find success in re-employing the running game, with play-action. Sony Michel finished the game with 16 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown. He also had career-highs in the receiving game with three targets and three receptions for 32 yards. James White also had six receptions for 46 yards out of the backfield.
However, the Patriots defense once again earned this game’s well-deserved spotlight. The Pats held Washington quarterback Colt McCoy to 18 for 27 passing, for 119 yards and an interception. McCoy was sacked six times, marking the first time in franchise history New England had four straight games with at least five sacks. In addition, the Patriots completed their fifth consecutive game without allowing a touchdown pass. The 2019 Patriots are the first team to accomplish that feat since the 1988 Cleveland Browns.
After missing last week’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills, linebacker Dont’a Hightower made his presence felt in this one. Hightower finished the game with eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, four tackles for loss and one pass deflection. Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton and Chase Winovich each sacked Washington’s much-maligned quarterback. Shortly before the end of the first half, Jason McCourty intercepted McCoy, setting up a 23-yard field goal from new Pats kicker Mike Nugent.
Washington scored their only points of the day on a 65-yard end around from Steven Sims Jr. scored on a 65-yard end around, which included two missed tackles by the Pats defense. It was the New England defense’s only miscue, as they would hold Washington scoreless for the remainder of the afternoon.
With the win, the Patriots remain unbeaten at 5-0. It is the fifth time in franchise history that New England has started the season 5-0, and only the second time since 2007.
ONE STEP CLOSER
With a 15-yard pass to Julian Edelman in the third quarter, Tom Brady moved past Brett Favre into third place on the career list with 71,923 yards passing.
Brady now trails only Peyton Manning (71,940 yards) and Drew Brees (74,845).
Brady also edged closer to Manning’s record of 539 touchdown passes, with 527.
KICKS AND JITTERS
Newly-signed kicker Mike Nugent began the task of assuming the kicking duties for the Patriots. Stephen Gostkowski (hip) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Nugent’s debut was less than ideal. He missed his first point-after-try, much to the chagrin of Patriots fans everywhere. He did, however, bounce back with three extra points and field goals of 37 and 23 yards.
Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. Doresett did not return to play in the second half.
New England will prepare to face another NFC East opponent. On a short turnaround, the Patriots will host the New York Giants on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and Columnist for Full Press Coverage. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. He is also the host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC