Welcome to the Week 15 Live Blog! This week the Patriots travel to Cincinnati to face the 1-12 Bengals, a team that is currently battling for the worst record and the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Typically a 10-3 team versus a 1-12 team would be ho-hum, but with the allegations that the Patriots were illegally filming (SERIOUSLY GUYS???) the Bengals sideline last week while making their running “Do Your Job” series that appears on the Patriots website. Now the Bengals are angry and probably playing with a chip on their shoulders; their coaches are definitely, you can bet on that. The Bengals will probably be more prepared for this game than any other this season, so this has a chance to be an interesting game due to that shady backdrop.

New England needs to win to not only stay in first in the AFC East, but to also remain the two seed in the AFC. They need a bye, plain and simple. The injuries are getting better, but Jason McCourty is out again, which means more time for Jones on the outside where he struggles. Let’s take a look at the inactive players for the game:

Patriots- OL Korey Cunningham, TE Ryan Izzo, DL Byron Cowart, RB Damien Harris, CB Jason McCourty, OL Jermaine Eluemunor, QB Cody Kessler

Bengals- G John Perry, OT Isaiah Prince, WR A.J. Green, WR Damion Willis, QB Jake Dolegala, CB Torry McTyler, DE Anthony Zettel

JoeJuan Johnson, who has been inactive most of the season, is active due to Jason McCourty being out. Hopefully the second-rounder gets on the field and makes an impact. Unfortunately for New England their early round draft picks from 2019 haven’t contributed much, but that needs to change going forward. Today could be the day that begins.

Be sure to stay with the Week 15 Live Blog throughout the game for REAL opinions (that are educated) and updates. We don’t pull punches here at FPC and we are not about to stop just because things have been tough lately. Stay tuned, this could be an interesting matchup. Enjoy the game!

FIRST QUARTER

15:00- Bolden returns the opening kickoff and the Patriots will begin at their own 25. 1st & 10…

14:52- Incomplete on a pass that looked to get away from Brady intended for Sanu; 2nd & 10…

14:46- 23-yard gain by James White out of the flat; terrible defense. 1st & 10…

14:13- Michel runs for eight; 2nd & 2…

13:40- Michel runs for 11 more; 1st & 10…

13:05- Harry on the end-around for 12; 1st & 10…

12:32- White runs for no gain; 2nd & 10…

11:52- Incomplete on the pass to Edelman that was way behind him; 3rd & 10…

11:44- TOUCHDOWN, PATRIOTS!! James White takes the screen pass for the score and gets the Patriots exactly what they needed to start the game- a touchdown drive. Now it is the defenses turn to do what they do. Patriots 7, Bengals 3

11:01- Mixon for nine and the Patriots better be prepared for that because he can run tough; 3rd & 1…

10:20- Mixon picks up three on the short-yardage conversion; 1st & 10…

9:40- Mixon runs for two; 2nd & 8…

8:56- Jamie Collins blows the tackle behind the line of scrimmage and Mixon runs for 29, which is inexcusable. It appears the Patriots defense is taking the Bengals lightly, which is on the coaches. 1st & 10…

8:00- Bernard for 17 more, wow; 1st & 10…

7:29- Bernard runs for four more; 2nd & 6…

6:57- Bernard runs for two more; 3rd & 4…

6:13- Touchdown, Bengals. The Patriots just had their worst defensive series of 2019. Bengals 7, Patriots 7

6:06- Michel runs for two; 2nd & 8…

5:27- Incomplete pass, dropped by White; 3rd & 8…

5:23- Incomplete pass to Edelman as Brady gets hammered; 4th & 8 and the Bengals will take over at their own 34.

5:10- Mixon runs for 13 more; 1st & 10…

4:40- Mixon runs for four; 2nd & 6…

3:55- Gain of seven and terrible tackling by JC Jackson, who needs to be aggressive on that; 1st & 10…

3:20- Mixon runs for four; 2nd & 6…

2:40- Pass is complete for 10 more; 1st & 10 and the Patriots defense is non-existent…

1:29- False start by the Bengals makes it 2nd & 13…

1:00- More missed tackles as Mixon picks up five; 3rd & 8…

:18- Gilmore breaks up the pass and forces a field goal attempt; 4th & 8…

:14- Field goal, Bengals. Bullock connects from 34-yards out to give the Bengals their first lead of the day. Bengals 10, Patriots 7

:08- Sigh….incomplete again. I’m sorry, this offense is just not good at all. The first drive was nice; they’ve done nothing since. 2nd & 10…

:00- Sanu picks up seven on the catch to end the quarter, a quarter dominated by the Bengals offense. New England had a strong drive to open the game, and it has been crickets over since. Bengals 10, Patriots 7

SECOND QUARTER

15:00- Edelman jumps offsides and costs the Patriots 30 yards. One step forward, two steps back- The Paula Abdul Offense.

14:49- Harry picks up 10 and a 1st down; 1st & 10…

14:16- Michel runs for one; 2nd & 9…

13:35- Harry for 12 more on another end-around; 1st & 10…

13:10- Brady sails it incomplete; 2nd & 10…

13:06- Edelman picks up 10 and another 1st down; 1st & 10 from the 41…

12:40- Birkhead runs for two; 2nd & 8…

11:56- White picks up four on the catch; 3rd & 4…

11:24- Incomplete pass to Sanu; 4th & 4 and the Patriots will go for it…timeout, Patriots.

11:21- The Patriots traded a 2nd round pick for Sanu; Sanu just dropped a WIDE OPEN crossing route that was in his hands, was a guaranteed 1st down and he still had space to run. Again, the 2019 Paula Abdul Offense. 1st & 10, Bengals…

11:16- Mixon runs for five more; 2nd & 5…

10:38- Carter picks up seven more; 1st & 10…

10:01- Patriots called for holding which gives the Bengals another 1st down; 1st & 10…

9:45- Unbelievable. Deflection somehow ends up in Mixon’s hands for another 1st down.

8:31- Mixon gains six; 3rd & 1…

7:44- Gain of half a yard; 4th & 1, Bengals will go for it…

7:09- Big stop by the Patriots defense as Bentley makes the stop on Mixon. Can the offense wake up? That is a legitimate question at this point. Bengals 10, Patriots 7

7:03- Michel runs for six; 2nd & 4…

6:33- Four more for Michel; 1st & 10…

5:56- Bengals called for a hold on Edelman which gives New England a 1st down; 1st & 10…

5:51- Michel runs for 14 more; GIVE HIM THE BALL! 1st & 10…

5:15- Lacosse for 12 more and another 1st down; 1st & 10…

4:38- A pass Brady and Edelman have connected on for years is dropped as the timing is off; 2nd & 10…

4:34- Terrible throw to a covered Harry; I’m not sure why Brady makes that throw. 3rd & 10 as this offense shows it’s DNA…

4:29- Seven-yard gain by Sanu and Folk comes on to attempt the field goal; 4th & 3…

3:51- FIELD GOAL, PATRIOTS! Folk connects from 40-yards out to tie this one up. The offense is having moments of success, but as we’ve seen all year, they cannot complete drives due to either pressure issues, receivers not getting open, or a missed throw. Bengals 10, Patriots 10

3:48- No gain by Mixon; 2nd & 10…

2:19- Bernard picks up three; 4th & 7…

2:05- 32-yard punt sets the Patriots up at their own 40; 1st & 10…

2:00- Michel runs for one on a foolish toss that never works with this offensive line; 2nd & 9, two-minute warning…

1:54- Another horrible play design leads to a loss of two; 3rd & 11…

1:46- Brady is sacked as things just remain the same. There is nobody open, Brady tried to move around, but his right tackle lost his man on the stunt and led to yet another sack. The punt was fumbled and the Patriots recover! First, the punt was almost blocked and then they actually make a play; 1st & 10, Patriots…

1:24- Three yards gained on the screen to Burkhead; 2nd & 7…

:54- Brady misses again, this time to a wide-open Sanu. That is simply a bad throw; 3rd & 8…

:46- Brady sacked again, Nugent to attempt another field goal…

:05- FIELD GOAL, PATRIOTS!! Nugent barely connects from 46-yards out to give the Patriots the lead for the first time since the 1st quarter. A touchdown would have been nice there, but it wasn’t meant to be. 13 points in the first half is actually an improvement though, so that is a positive too. Patriots 13, Bengals 10

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:05- Wow, this team. Bailey kicks it out of bounds giving the Bengals the ball at their 40, but they take a knee. The Patriots are winning the game, but they need to clean up these mistakes on offense. It appeared that the defense figured out their problems stopping Je Mixon and the run, so at least they can check that off the “adjustments needed” box. Patriots fans are not going to like this, but it is impossible to ignore the missed throws by Tom Brady in the first half. He has been MUCH better all year; he is definitely battling an arm injury that hopefully improves. Last but not least- use Michel and run the ball to the left. That has been very successful and will continue to be. Run the ball!!

HALFTIME: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 13, CINCINNATI BENGALS 10

THIRD QUARTER

15:00- Wise-Guy combo gets strong pressure; 2nd & 10…

14:40- Run for four; 3rd & 6…

14:16- INTERCEPTION, PATRIOTS! Gilmore with the one-handed catch to get the offense a short field. 1st & 10 from the 43…

14:02- Michel for three; 2nd & 7…

13:38- Lacosse picks up five; 3rd & 2…

12:50- White takes the pitch for 12 yards and another 1st down; 1st & 10…

12:10- Michel takes the screen for 15 yards..finally! Michel NEEDS to be involved in the entire offense. 1st & Goal…

11:25- Brady throws the ball just behind Michel and that costs them a TD; 2nd & Goal…

11:23- Another pass batted down as this struggling red-zone offense does its thing…go to Harry…please!!! 3rd & Goal…

11:17- TOUCHDOWN, PATRIOTS!! Harry makes the touchdown catch that is CRUCIAL for this offense. Harry needs to be that second option behind Edelman. Not next year, not in two years, right NOW! His athleticism is obvious, and the Patriots need to overlook his brainfarts that all rookies have and play him no matter what. KEEP HIM ON THE FIELD! Patriots 20, Bengals 10

11:14- Bad decision to return it and the Bengals offense starts their series at the 15; 1st & 10…

11:06- Mixon runs for 12; 1st & 10…

10:29- Blatant hold let go as the Bengals run for six more; 2nd & 4…

10:00- Boyd picks up 16; 1st & 10…timeout, Bengals.

9:15- Mixon runs for seven more as he goes over 100 for the day; 1st & 10…

8:34- Here comes that Bengals run game again; Mixon runs for 15 more; 1st & 10…

7:22- TOUCHDOWN, PATRIOTS!! Gilmore with the pick-six from 65-yards out as the New England secondary continues to make huge plays and be the strength of the roster. Folk drilled the extra point to make this a three-score game. Patriots 27, Bengals 10

7:11- Mixon runs for six; 2nd & 4…

6:44- Mixon for two; 3rd & 2…

6:01- Collins breaks up the pass at the LOS and forces another Bengals punt; 4th & 2…

5:54- Patriots will begin the next series at their own 25; 1st & 10…

5:51- Michel runs for four; 2nd & 6…(get the ball to your best athletes- Michel, Harry, and Edelman)…

5:16- Michel runs for 5.5; 3rd & short…

4:43- Michel fumbles and recovers but cannot get the 1st down. He couldn’t get there due to the fumble; 4th & 1 and Bailey punts it to the Bengals 27. Another series that started strong fizzles and that was just three plays; 4 yards, 5.5 yards, and then a fumble…that’s frustrating. 1st & 10, Bengals…

*It must be noted that sweep play which was fumbled has been unsuccessful more often than not in 2019.

3:53- Shelton gets angry and rips down Mixon after no gain; he must have seen THE tape. 2nd & 8…

3:20- The Patriots are starting to bring the wood; Winovich hammers Mixon, 3rd & 5…

2:37- Eiffert makes an Eiffert play as he was well-covered; 1st & 10…

1:51- Two-yard gain by Boyd on the catch; 2nd & 8…

1:05- Mixon picks up four as the check down; 3rd & 4…

:30- INTERCEPTION, J.C. Jackson!! Foot, knee, hand! That’s a pick! The Patriots offense takes over again as this is being reviewed. (They better not overturn this, that is obvious.)

:20- Gain of four by Michel; 2nd & 6 and that will end the 3rd quarter. The Patriots defense dominated the 3rd and have put the Patriots in position to clinch a playoff spot, assuming they can finish this. It would be nice to see the offense get into a rhythm and score a couple of touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Patriots 27, Bengals 10

FOURTH QUARTER

15:00- Michel runs for five more; 1st & 10…

14:30- Michel gets four out of nothing; 2nd & 6…

13:33- Burkhead picks up four on the wheel route; 3rd & 2…Brady is POed as he is forced to call a timeout. Some of these young guys are clueless; 3rd & 2…

12:49- Once again New England runs an outside play, be it a toss or a sweep, and it is completely cut down for no gain. I just don’t get why they continue to run those plays with this personnel. 4th & 4, Bailey will punt…

12:07- Dalton runs for two on the weird RPO; 2nd & 8…

11:33- Dalton finds his man for a gain of 20; 1st & 10…

10:58- Eight more through the air for Cincy; 2nd & 2…

10:13- Big drop leads to 3rd & 2…

10:10- Bernard is stuffed for a loss of two and the Bengals will go for it; 4th & 4…

9:26- 1st down reception by John Ross; 1st & 10…

9:06- Eiffert for one; 2nd & 9…

8:30- Harmon makes a nice tackle after a gain of eight; 3rd & 1…

7:49- Mixon gets outside for a gain of five; 1st & 10…

6:47- Great PBU by Gilmore; 2nd & 15…

6:43- Jackson with strong coverage and the PBU; 3rd & 15…

6:38- Strong pressure forces Dalton into a throwaway; 4th & 15 and the Bengals will attempt a 48-yard field goal…which is good. Patriots 27, Bengals 13

6:33- Onside kicks died after four yards…yeah, that isn’t going to cut it. Looked cool though; 1st & 10, Patriots…

6:26- Lacosse picks up two on the catch; 2nd & 8…

5:38- Well, we have ourselves a cluster on this play. A fumble, a penalty, a possible second penalty, all hell is breaking loose on this play. Let’s see the deal…it all ends in illegal hands to the face as THREE penalties were called on Cincinnati; 1st & 10…

5:31- TOUCHDOWN, PATRIOTS!! Rex Burkhead takes it in for the game-sealing score unless the Bengals pull off a miracle. Patriots 34, Bengals 13

5:22- Ball is deflected at the line and lands incomplete; Jonathan ones got shaken up (groin) and needs to be helped off the field. 2nd & 10…timeout, Patriots.

5:16- Eiffert almost made an amazing catch and then Harmon almost picked off the deflection; what a crazy play. 3rd & 10…

5:11- Dalton under heavy pressure on the safety blitz and Dalton chucks it to nobody; 4th & 10, the Bengals will punt…

5:02- Sanu returns the punt to the Patriots 30; 1st & 10…

4:57- Michel runs for seven; 2nd & 3…

4:20- The sweep is stuffed for nothing…again; 3rd & 3…

4:14- Harry called for an ATROCIOUS OPI on 3rd down; that was terrible and just a completely blown call by the officials. The Bengals take over at their own 20…

4:02- New England called for a hold and the Bengals pick up a free first down; 1st & 10…

3:57- Nine-yard gain turns into a 24 yard gain because once again Deatrich Wise got called for a stupid penalty. He has now reached his quota of one dumb penalty every game; 1st & 10…

3:43- INTERCEPTION, PATRIOTS!! Dalton just underthrew it and Jackson recovered to make his second interception of the game; 1st & 10, Patriots…

3:39- Michel runs for three; 2nd & 7…

3:30- Michel runs for six; 3rd & 1…

3:25- Burkhead runs for five off tackle to give the Patriots another first down and keep this clock rolling; 1st & 10…

2:44- Two-yard gain by Burkhead; 2nd & 8…

2:06- Burkhead runs for two more; 3rd & 6…two-minute warning.

2:00- Burkhead runs for a gain of six and that will end this game, assuming the Bengals don’t call a timeout.

1:13- That will do it as the Patriots will line up in victory formation as they improve to 11-3 and the Bengals drop to 1-13. The Patriots clinch a playoff spot for the 11th consecutive year in a game where their offense looked inconsistent again but definitely showed signs of improvement. The Bengals may have the worst run defense in the league, but they’re still an NFL defense and anytime you can have success that builds confidence. The left side of the line blocked well in the running and pass game, and receivers seemed to be getting open more. Next week’s battle against Buffalo will be a great test to not only clinch the division but also score against maybe the best secondary in football.

Thanks again for joining our Week 15 Live Blog, and be sure to join us for the live blog at 4:30 next Saturday in Foxboro when the Patriots battle the Bills for the AFC East title. Have a great week!

FINAL SCORE: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 34, CINCINNATI BENGALS 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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