Football is back! It’s been a long off-season after that Superbowl loss! For their first game, the New England Patriots took on the Tennessee Titans, and came up with the win over the Titans for a final score of 34-13. The last time the Patriots and Titans met on the gridiron was October 2008 and the Patriots won 59-0.
The Pats won the coin toss and, in true Patriot fashion, they deferred to the second half. The kick-off resulted in a touch back and the Titans offense took the field, led by quarterback Jake Locker. On their opening drive, Tennessee came out ready to fight. As the Titans marched down the field, the Patriots defense did what they could to hold them to a field goal. Although fans could argue that a touchdown should have been made, a flag was not thrown and pass interference in the end zone went uncalled. The score was 3-0 Titans.
The Patriots took the field and didn’t have much luck. Hernandez had a catch for 9 yards and Ridley ran behind Gronkowski for 17 yards, but two missed passes intended for Lloyd and Welker forced the Patriots to punt. The Patriots defense has improved though, and they were able to stop the run game, forcing the Titans to punt the ball. Brady and the offense took the field with 3:50 left in the first quarter and were able to make the plays. Brady threw to Gronkowski for a 28-yard gain, and then connected with Hernandez for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Gostkowski made the extra point and the Patriots took the lead 7-3.
The Titans took the field and Locker was intercepted by Patriots rookie Tavon Wilson. Wilson caught the ball in the end zone, giving the Patriots a touchback and Brady some good field position. Lloyd made a great catch, demonstrating why the Patriots drafted him. Unfortunately, it was not enough and Brady was sacked on the run. During the sack, Brady took a knee to the face which caused a nose bleed (whenever Brady goes down, every fan in New England holds their breath until they know he’s okay). In the second quarter, Chandler Jones was able to chase down Locker and strip the ball out of his hands, causing a fumble. Dont’a Hightower capitalized on the play by recovering the fumble and scoring a defensive touchdown. The Patriots now had a 14-3 lead against the Titans.
Later, Brady and the offense marched down the field, and it was the Brady-to-Gronkowski combination which gave them another touchdown! Gronkowski was able to make the play, but was unable to make his signature spike! This provided some laughs for the fans. The Patriots now led the game 21-3 going into the half.
The Titans proved that they were ready to fight in the third quarter. Locker had a nice throw on the run, and connected with Washington for a 29-yard touchdown. The Patriots still led the game 21-10, and then answered with a TD of their own. This time it was Ridley who ran into the end zone. The Patriots were up 28-10. Locker had a nice pass to Washington in the 4th quarter, but the pass was ruled incomplete based on the hit by Mayo. Washington was injured on the play and would sit out the rest of the game. Locker was also injured on that play while tackling Chung and was seen grabbing his shoulder. He sat out the rest of the game. So, in one play, the Titans lost their starting quarterback and their star receiver. From that point on, the game was pretty much over. Gostkowski made two more field goals, securing the Patriots victory 34-13.
As always, I leave you with my Pros and Cons of the game:
1. The Patriots defense has improved. What led to the Patriots victory was the fact that the defense was able to stop the Titans run game and they were forced to throw the ball, which led to mistakes. Exciting news for the Patriots, since defense wins ball games!
2. The rookies! The rookies came out strong and made a name for themselves. Jones had two sacks, one leading to a fumble return. Hightower had a fumble recovery, which he ran in for a touchdown. And Wilson had an interception. Although the rookies were impressive, they still have a lot of work to do. This is only game one!
3. Brady and the offense. We all know Tom Brady hates to lose, so a big win is always a pro.
1. Pass defense needs improvement. It wasn’t terrible, but it could be better. The Titans were able to make big pass plays.
2. The Patriots receivers need to work harder. Welker is the heart of the team and he did not have a good game. He, along with Lloyd, dropped a few passes. Lloyd’s drop, a clear toss from Brady, cost the Patriots a touchdown. You have to make big plays.
3. The offensive line could use some work. Solder is missing blocks and needs to improve. Also, Connolly was injured near the end of the game.
All in all, the Patriots looked good. I am excited for their home opener against Arizona! Bring it on!! Go Pats!