SNAP JUDGEMENTS: Brady does it again!!! (and other musings)

Tom Brady. That is all I need to say. I expected a close game that ended with Tampa Bay just getting out a victory over the Chiefs, but let’s not sugar coat it, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs were embarrassed on live TV. They were soundly defeated to the tune of 31-9, with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski turning back the clock and frustrating the Chiefs defense. On the other hand, this is hands down the worst game I have ever seen from Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs are known for turning up the heat in the 4th quarter and dropping 17 unanswered points at will, but there was no getting past that stout Bucs defense. Here are some of my biggest takeaways:

Tom Brady Throws Trophy While Celebrating Super Bowl Win on Boat in Tampa 1
Steve Nesius/UPI/Shutterstock

First, I would like to declare the NFL GOAT debate officially done. It’s over, Tom Brady is undoubtedly the greatest NFL player of all time. Honestly, the debate was over after his 6th ring, but “haters gonna hate”. I know people who loathe Brady and even they are admitting he’s the best. Think about it, he has 7 rings, that is more than any NFL franchise has, he’s won the Super Bowl with 2 different teams, (sorry Peyton Manning) and he’s won the most games of any quarterback ever, 3 league MVPs, 5 Super Bowl MVPs, 3x first team all pro, and 14x Pro Bowl selection. GOAT.

Photo by AP

Next is a very unpopular NFL opinion, but Andy Reid is not that great of a head coach and this game proved it. I won’t spend too much time on it, but there is no denying it anymore. He is 1-2 in the Super Bowl, he is an awful game manager and he has stumbled onto a team with enough talent to mask his poor play calling and decision making. Remember the Philly “dream team”? Yeah, exactly. I’m not saying that he is bad head coach, he’s just supremely overrated. Fringe top 10 all time, if that. (No Chiefs fans, he is not top 5 all time)

Finally, as far as the Pats go, the ball is in Belichick’s court now. Brady just won his 7th ring and all the uneducated masses are howling alongside the equally empty headed sports analysts about how “Brady made the dynasty” and “Brady made Belichick”. According to Tom Curran, the Patriots will be “uncharacteristically aggressive” this offseason and they have no excuse not to. After sitting out in free agency for about 3 years now, trading out of the 1st round, and letting big name free agents walk, the Patriots finally have no excuse not to do anything. They have the 4th most cap space in the NFL and the 15th overall pick… the future is now, no opt outs, no harrowing cap situations, no reason not to make moves.

SNAP JUDGEMENTS: The Buccaneers?!?!

It hurts a bit to see Brady and Gronk going to another Super Bowl on a team that isn’t New England, but I wish them all the best, I truly do. I have to admit that a small part of me was rooting against Tampa Bay throughout the season (the angry Pats fan in me specifically), but now that they’ve made the grandest stage in the NFL, I am 100% behind them. The only drawbacks are the media and bandwagon Bucs fans repeating “Brady made Belichick” in an idiotic craze, but hey, it doesn’t matter if you can just tune it out.

Brady does it again, Tampa is going to the Super Bowl. (credit SkySports.com)

Here’s why I’m rooting for them:

  1. If Brady wins his 7th ring there will be no more doubt over his status as GOAT, there shouldn’t be anyway, but this ought to finish it
  2. He will have more Super Bowl wins than any other team in the NFL and that would be just wonderful.
  3. He can stick it to Peyton Manning by being another quarterback who won a Super Bowl with 2 different teams.
  4. The angry Pats fan in me does not want to the Chiefs repeat

There you have it. It is going to be a chaotic game with 2 high powered offenses, but these teams have met already and while Kansas City won, they now get to face Super Bowl Tom Brady, a deadly man. For me the difference is defense, Tampa has a superior defense and the Chiefs will be without their starting left tackle Eric Fisher, who has a torn Achilles tendon , a big blow to their offensive line. My big prediction is this: Tampa Bay wins 37-31 in a shootout.

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Ring #7 for Brady coming soon? (Credit Buccaneers.com)

SNAP JUDGEMENTS: Positives from the Patriots season

Missing the playoffs is never ideal, but after a subpar season, it’s always nice to go back and reflect upon what went well and what good things are in store, here are the 2 best things from last season, plus reasons to be excited for the future.

The Rookies

Not a bad draft class, if I do say so myself

This was a fine draft class. D2 prospect Kyle Dugger has developed into a hard hitting safety with 61 total tackles and will be a great replacement for Patrick Chung when he retires. The linebackers Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings played well despite not seeing the field much and there is definitely something to build on. Tight ends Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi were nonfactors, but Asiasi did manage to close out 2020 on a relatively high note. The biggest gem was 6th rounder Mike Onwenu and this guy can play! He was named to the PFF all rookie team and was the highest graded offensive rookie during the 2020 season, he will certainly be a big piece of the offensive line for years to come.

These guys have a bright future

Runningbacks Damien Harris and Sony Michel will form a dangerous 1-2 punch next season out of the offensive backfield. While Harris played well this year, he ended the year on IR, thus making room for Michel. Michel made his case to be included in the backfield next season and they both ran over opposing defenses. The running game will be as strong as ever.

In Bill We Trust

Resident football mastermind Bill Belichick has some rebuilding to do. There are a lot of holes on this roster and he intends to right the ship, DO NOT sleep on the Patriots. They are armed with the 15th overall pick, the 4th most cap space, and up to 8 players returning from the opt out list. Let’s see what they are able to accomplish this offseason… In Bill We Trust.

Patriots finish strong and triumph over the Jets 28-14

The Patriots had some fun in the snow as they were victorious in their final game of the year, to end with a 7-9 record. (and put an end to a 2 game Jets win streak). While it is sad that New England will miss the playoffs, let’s just be happy about this victory over the hated New York Jets. In fact, today’s article will strictly be about the positives of the game.

Will Cam be back next season?

First, Cam Newton was incredible, he saved his best for last with 242 yards and 3 touchdown passes and he even had a receiving touchdown from Jakobi Meyers on a trick play. Speaking of which, Meyers caught the ball 6 times for 68 yards and threw a touchdown to Newton. Also Sony Michel had himself a fine performance as well, with 76 rushing yards and a 31 yard receiving touchdown, he is fighting for the second running back spot behind Damien Harris and those 2 and James White (who also had a receiving touchdown) should make a dangerous trio next season.

This will be a dangerous trio if White resigns.

The last bit of good news on offense was the rookie tight end Devin Asiasi, he showed a glimmer of potential with 2 catches 38 yards and a caught a long touchdown pass. It was the best way to end a lackluster season offensively and it certainly helped Cam Newton’s case to stay in 2021. Defensively, Chase Winovich was a force to be reckoned with in the offensive backfield as he racked up 6 tackles and 2 sacks, coupled with an interception from Jonathan Jones and JC Jackson (Jackson end the season with 9 picks), the defense bent, but didn’t break, holding the Jets to 14 points.

JC leads New England with 9 interceptions (2nd best in the NFL)

Over the offseason, CJs Patriots Opinions will continue to talk Pats football and keep posting articles, soon there will be an article that details what the Patriots should do this offseason and there will be some guest writers working with me as well. There is still much more to discuss…

This closes the book on another Patriots season, we’re onto the offseason.

Patriots get blown out by Bills 38-9

I have no words, I honestly don’t. I am unable to comprehend what I saw during that game. Losing always stings, getting blown out is worse, but when there is a complete lack of effort? That’s where I draw the line. The team was okay in the first quarter and things fell apart from there, the second quarter was painful to watch and the team just gave up during the second half. There was no effort, no spirit, just a sense that the team wanted the game to be over, heck, even Bill Belichick gave up calling plays and didn’t even have his play sheet during the 4th quarter. Worse yet, the Patriots lost Devin McCourty and Josh Uche to injury, so they may get shut down for the final game.

We understand Bill. We understand.

However, I will give credit to the running game, they tried their best and Sony Michel actually had a decent game, but when your offense becomes one dimensional, you become easy to predict. My father and I were watching the game and we could literally predict what was going to happen, It would go run, short pass, incompletion, punt.

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
What’s next for Newton? (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

I hate to say this, but Cam probably isn’t the answer and I love Cam Newton, I just thing he can’t throw the deep ball anymore and his accuracy is shot, I believe that Jarrett Stidham will get the starting nod over the Jets this week, but I can’t be sure, whatever happens I will trust Belichick. Next week, the Pats stay at home against the Jets for the final game of the season, let’s end it on a high note… GO PATS!!!

Patriots eliminated from playoffs with 22-12 loss to Dolphins

I feel nothing, not pain, not sadness, not anger, just an emptiness. Honestly, I didn’t expect New England to make the playoffs so this isn’t a surprise, it just felt inevitable. The deck was stacked against them from the beginning, they lost Tom Brady, Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, and Danny Shelton to free agency, they had the most dead money in the league (around 15% of their cap space was dead money) which hindered their signing ability to the point where they had to trade their first round pick because they couldn’t afford to play that player, and on top of that they had a league high 8 players opt out of the season, important players too, like Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon, and Patrick Chung to name a few. So it already wasn’t a good situation.

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton
Will Newton be brought back to New England? (credit Chris O’Meara, AP)

Truthfully where the Patriots are in the standings is where I didn’t want them to be, in the middle. Not good enough to make the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a higher draft pick to land one of the best draft prospects. I was hoping they wouldn’t be in the middle of the pack and that’s exactly where they are. As far as the game went, it was hard to watch. the first half wasn’t all bad, they had momentum and a 6-0 lead, then the second half came and they fell apart. The Patriots haven’t scored a touchdown in 2 straight games now and the run defense was still awful as a running back who most fans have never heard of ran all over the defense. The team collapsed and couldn’t get into the endzone to save their lives.

a man that is standing in the water
The Patriots have some issues to fix for next season (Picture by For The Win)

Worse yet, the Patriots lost Ja’whaun Bentley, David Andrews, and Stephon Gilmore during that game, coupled with Damien Harris’s injury last game and New England just can’t seem to say healthy, further adding to their struggles. It’s time to call it a year and (maybe) try to aim for a better draft pick and focus on rebuilding for next year. Next game is the AFC East champion Buffalo Bills in New England, it will be interesting to see how Bill Belichick handles that game and what adjustments he makes.

Patriots dealt a blow to playoff hopes after a painful 24-3 loss to the Rams.

Well, at least we beat them in the super bowl. The easiest thing to say is that the better team won, plain and simple, but this game in particular was aggravating to no end. The Rams ran all over the Patriots’ defense, having no answers for Cam Akers, but let’s be clear, the Rams weren’t actually all that impressive on offense outside of Akers, Jared Goff was okay and the offense only put up 17 points (the defense chipped in with a pick 6). The defense feasted on Cam Newton and eventually Jarrett Stidham, with a certain someone playing offensive line being particularly awful (more on him later), but they gave up 6 sacks, likely worsening Newton’s abdominal injury. That’s right, according to Jay Glazer in pregame, Cam Newton has been struggling with a rather painful abdominal injury, which explains his iffy throws and unwillingness to run and it would also explain 4 redzone trips and coming away with only a field goal to show for it.

NFL: New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers
Newton was benched for Stidham in the 4th quarter. If Newton is really hurt, should Stidham start? Via USA Today

As far as other injury news, Damien Harris limped off the field with a back injury in the 4th quarter, with the announcers saying that he was down for quite a while during a commercial break. This is especially heartbreaking, since Harris was emerging as the lead back and was putting up decent numbers before this. But enough of that, there were a few things that enraged me during the game, it’s time to grind my axe…

Cam Newton: I will not blame him that much, as I have learned that he has been dealing with a rather painful abdominal injury and I understand that, but how long can one man hold onto the ball?!?! He was like a statue in the Pocket and could’ve ran for some easy first downs and with the O-line crumbling around him, he could’ve at least thrown the ball away. Let me state that I am no longer as upset at him as I was, seeing as this ab injury a real issue, but his performance was still frustrating.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A lot is going to have to go right for Cam Newton (1) and the Patriots to get close to a playoff berth.
Newton reflects on a tough game (Credit Sean M. Haffey)

The Officiating: It seems that every week I have a bone to pick with the officials, but there were 3 particularly egregious moments that have earned my ire. First, was Cam Akers’ longest run of the night, receiver Cooper Kupp had a Patriots defender in a headlock and there was ref looking directly at it and he did nothing. Second was blatant pass interference with a defender draped on N’Keal Harry’s shoulder and then proceeded to trip him on a crucial 3rd down, no flag. Finally, the Rams were on the goal line, a Patriots player jumped (and did not even go over the line) and the rams players jumped. Easy false start right? Wrong, they called New England for a neutral zone infraction penalty, despite not even going over the line.

The Run Defense and 4th Down Defense: Is it really that hard to get a stop? The Rams were 3/3 on 4th down and running back Cam Akers had over 170 yards on the Patriots defense and many, many, many broken tackles. I’ll leave it at that.

Jermaine Eluemunor: Remember that certain someone on the Patriots O-line who I was extremely displeased with? Here he is, Jermaine Eluemunor! This man is a glorified pylon, I was beyond frustrated with his play this season and this game is merely the icing on the cake. I cannot wait for Isaiah Wynn to come back, because Eluemunor is a horrendous blocker. He was responsible for 3 out of the 6 sacks New England gave up, that is inexcusable. 3 sacks in a game is bad enough, but 1 player giving them up is even worse. He makes me miss last years backup lineman abomination, Marshall Newhouse, who I still despise to this day. He needs to be cut ASAP. His contract expires this offseason, let him walk and forget he ever played for New England.

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Let this man go immediately!!! (Credit: Fred Kfoury III)

Next week the Patriots must make the dreaded trip to Miami to face off against the surging Dolphins. They have always inexplicably struggled in Miami, can they turn it around?

Patriots demolish Chargers, 45-0 in an impressive shutout

The 3 phases of the game worked well together, offense, defense, AND special teams. It was hard to find fault in the Patriots absolute manhandling of the LA Chargers, with the win boosting them to 6-6. The offense was efficient and could score through the air and on the ground, the defense stifled the high flying Chargers offense and offensive rookie of the year frontrunner Justin Herbert.

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Gunner takes it to the house! (Via The New England Patriots)

The Patriots even scored twice on special teams, first on a Gunner Olszewski 70 yard punt return touchdown (surely a relief after a poor “blindside block” penalty nixed a return TD last game) and a blocked punt scooped up by Devin McCourty and taken 44 yards to the house. Offensively, Damien Harris keeps doing his thing with 80 yards on 16 carries, Sony Michel even got back in the action with 35 yards. Newton didn’t haven any eye popping numbers, but he did find N’Keal Harry for a touchdown pass. Things were looking so good, Jarrett Stidham even got subbed into the game halfway through the 4th quarter and he even threw a touchdown to Gunner Olszewski.

Cam Newton is all smiles when he scores (Via Henry McKenna)

The defense played lights out as well, Stephon Gilmore looked like his former self and kept jamming route and broke up a pass. JC Jackson continues to dominate, with his 7th interception on the season, breaking Stephon Gilmore’s total of 6 from his defensive player of the year season from last year. Edge rusher Chase Winovich even snagged an interception as well, paired with many pressures and hits from himself and Josh Uche. Right now, don’t worry about the playoffs, just enjoy the W and focus on the next game. Next week the Patriots stay in LA for a showdown against the Rams on Thursday night football. Let’s see if New England can dominate again.

Patriots upset Cardinals 20-17 in a tight game.

All hail the great Nick Folk, he saves the day again, drilling the game winning field goal to cap off an ugly game. I have so many thoughts about this showing, it wasn’t a convincing win, there were many penalties and many more mistakes, but it was still a win. There weren’t many who expected the Patriots to come out on top, yet they still won and with the exception of the 49ers game, the Patriots have always been in the game and have had a chance at victory, so they aren’t a terrible team.

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Once again, Nick Folk saves the day! Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

There were 3 things that irked me during that game and I believe that most Pats fans will back me up. First and foremost, the “blindside” block penalty that cost New England a punt return touchdown. My blood pressure rose to levels that I’ve rarely hit before, I do not blame Jennings, it was a poor call. Next up is Jermaine Eluemunor, this man does not start for a reason, he allowed so much pressure on Cam Newton and kept getting pushed back. On the final play on New England’s first drive, he stood and stared like a deer in headlights while an edge rusher in front of him caught a batted pass for an interception. Worse yet, we’re stuck with him for a least 2 more games with Isaiah Wynn on IR. Finally, the penalties in the defensive backfield hurt me. I am specifically talking about Jason McCourty and Stephon Gilmore’s holding calls, which prolonged Arizona’s drive and enabled them to score. Jason McCourty has been a liability throughout most of the season and I won’t be shocked if Belichick lets him walk this offseason.

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes under pressure from Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (32) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Newton did just enough to keep the Pats competitive. ( credit Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

With that out of the way, there were many positives as well. First, I loved the goal line stand to block Kenyan Drake from the endzone. Ja’whaun Bentley and Anfernee Jennings played very well (except that awful penalty which shall go unnamed) and 2nd rounder Kyle Dugger continued to make key tackles and cover well. Adam Butler and Adrian Phillips stepped up in a big way and our defense was able to curb Kyler Murray’s rushing and limited big plays. Damien Harris had a solid day and the running game was reinforced with 2 touchdowns from James White.

Arizona Cardinals v New England Patriots
“Really proud of the way these guys competed. Give them all the credit in the world for the final result. They played hard, competed for 60 minutes, made enough plays at critical times in the game to win.”
– Bill Belichick
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

While not perfect, a win is a win and keeps New England’s playoff hopes alive. Next week, the Patriots head to LA to do battle with the Chargers, who aren’t the best record-wise, but still dangerous with rookie superstar, Justin Herbert, but if there’s one thing watching Patriots games has taught me, it’s that you NEVER count out the Pats until the final whistle.

Patriots drop a winnable game to Texans, 27-20

This game was the definition of infuriating. Let’s address the elephant in the room first, what in the ever-loving heck happened to the defense? Reigning defensive player of the year, Stephon Gilmore and NFL interception leader JC Jackson were burned the entire game by little known tight end Jordan Akins and Will Fuller and Brandon Cooks, who were wide open more often than not. The Patriots defense couldn’t get a lick of pressure on Deshaun Watson and when they managed to grab him, Watson would break free and scramble for a first down.

The Texans D-line swatted 4 passes at the line, making a statement win despite playing poorly all year.
(Credit to Danny Jaillet)

With this extra time, the play would break down and a Texans receiver would inevitably get open and the defensive backfield had to continually take the fall for the front seven’s awful play. Then there was the offense, the Texans had the league’s worst rushing defense, yet they managed to stuff New England’s running game over and over again. The Pats were bullied and picked apart in the first half, the score was 21-10, Texans, going into the second half and the Patriots put themselves in a hole they couldn’t get out of. They could’ve held the Texans scoreless in the second half and still would’ve lost 21-20. Anybody with a working brain could tell that the first half was an absolute disaster and New England never recovered. Also, the officiating in the first half was some of the worst I’ve seen so far this season, 1 uncalled roughing the passer, 5 uncalled holds on the Texans, 2 obvious penalties walked back, and a blocker targeting JC Jackson’s legs in the second half, causing a big play, went uncalled.

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Byrd and Newton celebrate Newton’s long TD pass, New England’s best play of the game.
(Credit Isaiah Houde)

On top of that, the Patriots lost the versatile running back, Rex Burkhead for the rest of the year with a torn ACL and Isaiah Wynn was injured as well, but it is unknown how long he’ll be out for, or if he is out at all. While the second half was better overall, the Patriots collapsed on a potential game saving drive yet again and were held in check by a poor Texans defense. The worst part was that is was a winnable game but poorly timed penalties (and the lack thereof on the opposition) and stupid mistakes cost them the game. The next game, the Patriots are back at home to duel with the Arizona Cardinals, as the Pats look to pull off a major upset against one of the league’s hottest teams… it’s not impossible.