Patriots’ offense sputters in the first half, roars back in the second

©Alex MacDougall

By Alex MacDougall
BU News Service

It’s become almost routine. The New England Patriots, a team vaunted both offensively and defensively, face off against an opponent which by all indications appears severely outclassed. This time the opponent was the Washington Redskins, a team, which like other teams the Patriots have faced so far, have yet to win a game coming into the match-up, and which most people are likely to know more about their naming controversy than who their starting quarterback is (It’s Colt McCoy…for this week at least).

For the first half of the game however, it seemed that a potential upset was brewing. The Redskins scored first on a clever running play the ended in a 65-yard touchdown by Steven Sims. The Patriots answered back with a march down the field and touchdown of their own, but then Mike Nugent, the kicker signed by the Patriots to replace the ailing Steven Gostkowski, miffed the extra point, in what’s become an all-too-familiar scene for New England this season. Tom Brady’s offense managed to muster two more field goals to take a 12-7 lead at halftime, but it seemed they were struggling similarly to their previous game against Buffalo, with Brady tossing another interception in red-zone territory, his second in two games.

But whatever pep talk Head Coach Bill Belichick gave the team at halftime (if any) seemed to work. The Patriots resumed the dazzling offensive display familiar in their first three games of the season, scoring three touchdowns and ending the day with 33 unanswered points. After the shaky start, Brady ended the day with 348 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Following the initial touchdown by Sims, the Patriots defense continued their impressive ways, racking up six sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. In the end, it was just another lopsided Patriots win, with the final score 33-7.

With more than a quarter of the season over, the Patriots are now the only team in the AFC with an undefeated record, and have scored 121 more points than they have allowed, the largest margin in the NFL by far. They’re also faced with a relatively easy schedule, as they aren’t scheduled to play a team with a winning percentage above .500 until November.

But next week’s opponent, the New York Giants, are fabled for their ability to defeat the Patriots when the odds are against them, having done it twice in the Super Bowl. Despite their 2-3 record (and being manhandled this week by the Minnesota Vikings), you can bet the Patriots will be taking their next opponent seriously, especially if their currently injured running back, Saquon Barkley, returns to the field.

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