Fifteen penalties for 163 yards and 5 first downs. Well, at least Bill has something to get onto them about this week in practice. While that is a ridiculous amount of penalties, they pretty much avoided the huge untimely penalty. On Minnesota's lone scoring drive, Hightower did earn a bad penalty when he jumped on Cassel's hard count on 3rd and 1 to give them a first down. Early in the second quarter Revis gifted Minnesota with another first down when he got busted for holding in the middle of the field on 3rd and 10.
When it comes to what the Patriots did right today, the list is long. Since I was all over Brady's case last week about him going through the motions, I definitely need to give him props for playing a great game. Looking at his statistics you might think I've lost my mind, but if you read my blog last week, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Unlike the second half of last week's game, Brady was all about selling the play-action today. There was no going through the motions, there was energy and precision on each aspect of the play. The "I's" were dotted and the "T's" were crossed. Moreover, he was light on his feet and mobile in the pocket just like the old days. Now that's what I'm talking about!!!
Special teams was pretty fabulous I'd have to say. Gostkowski was a perfect 3 for 3 and didn't miss any automatics. For those keeping track, Gostkowski now has 1,043 points in a Patriots' uniform (third behind Vinatieri-1,158 and Gino Cappelletti- 1,130). While he has a way to go to catch these guys, Rob Gronkowski should be in the top ten soon (knocking out Jim Nance). Yes, there is a bit of a theme with guys having last names that end in "i".
Besides splitting the uprights today, Gostkowski also prevented the Vikings from getting good field position on kickoffs by booting most of them into the stands. Ryan Allen also prevented the Vikings from getting any momentum on special teams by placing 4 of 5 punts inside the 20.
Now the real special teams play of the day quite obviously goes to Chandler Jones. After having a rough week last week, Chandler was a beast today. What did he do you ask? Well, he blocked a field goal attempt and returned 58 yards for a touchdown. Besides that he had 8 tackles and 2 sacks. While sometimes it seemed like Chandler had a twin out on the field with him today, Hightower was also all over the place. He also had 8 tackles and 2 sacks to go along with a pass deflection.
Other defensive standouts were Jerod Mayo (7 tackles, 2 for losses), Logan Ryan (3 tackles, 1 interception and 2 pass deflections), and Devin McCourty (interception which he ran back 60 yards to set up first Patriots' TD). Revis and Easley both also recorded interceptions complements of Cassel.
As a whole the defense and special teams did a great job tackling today. You could probably count on one hand the number of times the first player to the ball carrier didn't make the tackle. While I don't have the yards after catch statistics for the Vikings, I would be shocked if it was greater than 50.
Unlike last weekend, my predictions this Sunday were pretty close.
Prediction in parenthesis
30 (31) score 7 (13)
0 (1) turnovers 4 (3)
292 (408) yards 217 (355)
6 (3) sacks 1 (1)