It wasn’t perfect, but yet again, the New England Patriots take care of business with a 36-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Early on this season, a game that looked like a loss on the schedule turned into a win. When a team is as depleted on offense as the Tennessee Titans are, it’s easy to underestimate them, but Bill Belichick didn’t let that happen; the team was all business as usual.
Belichick knew that Mike Vrabel was an excellent coach and would have his team ready to fight. Not only does Vrabel have a good understanding of what the Patriots do, but he’s also highly motivated to beat his former coach, who traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs. Last week, Vrabel also benefited from watching how Dean Pees, the former Patriots Defensive Coordinator, dialed up blitzes for the Atlanta Falcons and slowed down the Patriots offense. Unfortunately for Vrabel, Belichick isn’t the only great mind he was facing; Josh McDaniels runs the offense, Mac Jones is his quarterback, and they were ready to handle their business.
New England Patriots Taking Care of Business
Patriots Not Just a Running Team
The Patriots showed they are not just a running team. The Titans made an effort to stop the run early on, and they did so. So McDaniel’s offense just morphed into a passing team. That’s a massive credit to his coaching and Jones’s abilities; not many teams can change their game plan and identity on the fly. Especially considering Jones is a rookie quarterback working with receivers who are also new to the offense. Jones would set a new career-high in passing yards with 310 and also threw for two touchdowns.
Injuries have plagued the Patriots opponents, almost to a point where one could wonder if they’re using witchcraft. They caught the Cleveland Browns without Nick Chubb, the Falcons without Calvin Ridley, and the Titans without their three best offensive players. Their next opponent, the Buffalo Bills, has lost their star cornerback Tre’Davious White for the season. Everything is coming up Patriots, and they have taken advantage. It’s what good teams that are well-coached do; they take care of business.
More Business to Handle
There’s more business to handle; the Titans exposed a few weaknesses. The Patriots gave up 270 rushing yards, and Derrick Henry wasn’t playing. What’s more concerning is that they were often in a 3-4 base defense with the safeties in the box designed to stop the run, and they got dominated. The runs were not sophisticated; there was just poor tackling and bad angles taken.
The offense also stalled in the red zone too often and had to settle for field goals. They came away with two touchdowns in five opportunities. Jones sailed a throw over the head of a wide-open Hunter Henry near the goal line on one drive. He had several throws that he would want back, but he did not turn the ball over at the end of the day, and the other team did four times. Jones went on to say: “Yeah, I think just execution in the red zone. The goal is to score points, and the best teams in the league are like 70 percent on touchdowns, and we can be better there getting up to that number.”
A Master of Motivation
Belichick is well aware of these issues and is likely working on them already. The mistakes were pretty uncharacteristic and may be a blessing in disguise. They will allow Belichick to humble players in the film room and keep this team from getting too full of itself. He is a master of motivation, and he knows how to get the best effort out of all his players.
After the game, Belichick reminded the world that “eight games ain’t enough to win anything or clinch anything. We got a long way to go.”
The team is playing with the same mindset that they did when their record was 2-4. “It’s a fighter mentality. You train harder when you are 2-4. You work harder when you are 2-4,” said Nelson Agholor. It’s the type of effort fans expect and are used to seeing for over two decades now. It’s what good business people do; they take care of business.
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