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Sunday, 17 September 2017 16:02

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: New England Patriots Defeat New Orleans Saints 36-20

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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: New England Patriots Defeat New Orleans Saints 36-20 Image via AP, Bill Feig

It was a tilt between two winless teams on Sunday afternoon. Tom Brady was looking to avoid his first career 0-2 start.

After having a week and half to think over their opening night loss, the New England Patriots finally got their chance to respond. While some questions still remain, the doom and gloom thoughts that seemed to surround the team are no longer there. What exactly stood out from the 16 point victory?


1. No Ordinary 40 Year Old - After the week one loss, there were natrually questions about Tom Brady and his age. Those questions were silenced on Sunday. He came out in the victory and completed 30 of 39 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns. Brady's three touchdown passes went to three different receivers. In week one Brady looked ordinary. His game on Sunday afternoon showed that he has no plans on slowing down yet.


2. Not Done Yet - After having only two catches in week one, there were some questions about Rob Gronkowski and his laundry list of injuries. Like Brady, Gronkowski proved that he is still the force that the league has come to know. In the victory, Gronkowski grabbed six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Although, Gronkowski did leave the game with an injury and didn't return.


3. Sorting Things Out - With what appears to be a deep backfield, there were natrually questions about who would see the lion's share of snaps in the backfield. Through two games, it seems like newcomer Mike Gillislee will be the one who gets the bulk of the carries. Gillislee got the most carries in week one and that carried over to week two as he had 18 carries for 69 yards and one touchdown. In passing situations it seems like Jame White and Rex Burkhead will be the most likely options.


4. Getting Wise - With the retirement of Rob Ninkovich, a need opened up opposite of Trey Flowers. After two games, it looks like rookie Deatrich Wise will be the player that starts at the other defensive end spot. In his two games thus far, Wise has gotten a sack in both. In the week two victory, Wise also added five quarterback hits. The pairing of the young Wise and Flowers could be a building block for the New England defense.


5. Secondary - The departure of cornerback Logan Ryan was a little understated in the offseason. Perhaps that was due to the addition of Stephon Gilmore. Through two games, Ryan's departure could be bigger than once thought. The physicality that Ryan brought to the table has been missing so far. The duo of Gilmore and Malcolm Butler will likely sort itself out and be fine. For now though, the Patriots could be missing Logan Ryan.


6. Punt Returner - With the injuries that Julian Edelman and Cyrus Jones sustained in the preseason, there were natrually questions about who would return the punts. It looks like Patrick Chung has assumed that position, sort of. In the week two victory, Chung served was the punt returner for New England. He didn't return a single punt in the win as he called for a four catch each time. That could be the strategy for the Patriots special teams without a clear cut option for a returner.


Extra Point 


At one point it looked like New England might have one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL. Those days are long gone as their receivers are dropping like flies. Edelman is done for the season. Danny Amendola is dealing with a concussion and missed the week two victory. In the game on Sunday, both Chris Hogan and Philip Dorsett got banged up. The Patriots entered the game with only three receivers active. By the end of the game, Brandin Cooks was the last one standing. That position will be on to watch going forward as Cooks appears to be the only healthy receiver on the roster. Gronkowski and Burkhead also left the game with injuries. Considering the lengthy injury history of Gronkowski, he will be a player to watch going forward.

Billy Wyatt

Billy Wyatt is a New England Patriots beat reporter for CLNS Radio. Now covering the Patriots for multiple seasons, Billy is a veteran journalist at CLNSRadio.com A graduate of the University of Hartford with a communications degree, Billy’s prior experience was as a sports writer for the Hartford Informer.You can reach Billy via e-mail at bwyatt_91@yahoo.com. And you can follow him on Twitter @Billy_NFL.