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Titans 34, Patriots 10: 10 quick thoughts on ugly loss

Ryan Hannable
November 11, 2018 - 4:04 pm
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Woof.

The thousands of fans who traveled to Nashville from New England left disappointed as the Titans blew out the Patriots, 34-10.

The Patriots were never even close to being in the game as Tennessee scored on the opening drive and never looked back. 

New England’s offense, which came into the game scoring 30 or more points in five out of its last six games, had its worst performance of the season. Yes, worse than Week 3 in Detroit as Tom Brady was pulled in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Here are some quick observations from the game.

1. The Patriots may have been guilty of taking the Titans lightly heading into the game. Typically, Bill Belichick-coached teams don’t fall victim to trap games, but this was the definition of one coming off the biggest win of the year against the Packers and then the bye week coming up this week. The Titans dominated the Patriots in every facet of the game, coaching included.

2. New England’s offense was completely taken off its rails. It got so bad that the Patriots pulled Brady in the middle of the fourth quarter, which almost never happens. The 41-year-old finished 21-for-41 with 254 yards, but no touchdowns and no interceptions. Brady was never able to get into a rhythm as he was under constant pressure all game long.

3. The Patriots receivers didn’t do much for Brady. Of his 254 passing yards, 185 went to Julian Edelman or Josh Gordon. Edelman had nine catches on 12 targets for 104 yards, while Gordon had four catches on 12 targets for 81 yards. Gordon had a few drops, but also a few targets that he had no chance catching.

4. Although the Patriots got Sony Michel back, there was no resemblance of a running game. Michel had just 31 yards rushing and the offense finished with 42 yards. The poor play of the offensive line definitely had a lot to do with the poor showing.

5. Stephon Gilmore had his worst game of the season. Coming in, he was one of the better corners in the entire NFL, but he was targeted by Mariota in coverage against Corey Davis and had a tough time. Davis finished with seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown and Gilmore was also flagged for two pass interference penalties.

6. The Patriots didn’t really attack Malcolm Butler as much as some thought, but that was mostly because he wasn’t in the game very much. Butler was the Titans’ No. 3 cornerback, which has been the case in the last few weeks and he wasn’t on the field all that often. Tennessee employed some zone coverages with him, so he wasn’t matched up solely 1-on-1 against a Patriots receiver.

7. There were miscues all over for the Patriots, which was not the way Belichick wanted to go into the bye. The team also didn’t come out with any emotion, which has happened too many times for the team this season. They usually are the ones dictating the tempo.

8. Although the defense had its issues, Kyle Van Noy had one of the better games of his career, finishing with a career-high 12 tackles. He’s really come into his own as one of the better players on the defensive side of the ball and has turned into one of the leaders on the unit.

9. New England lost two players due to injury in the game — offensive lineman Trent Brown (back) and tight end Dwayne Allen (knee). This created major issues up front as the line came in without starting right guard Shaq Mason. Adding insult to injury, Julian Edelman left the game late in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury.

10. Rob Gronkowski missed his second straight game and three out of the last four. His absence was certainly felt and it wasn’t just in the passing game either. With Brown battling an illness coming in and then suffering a back injury, the offensive line could have used Gronkowski as an extra blocker at times.

For just the fifth time out of 70 games in his career, Brady threw over 40 times and didn't have a touchdown.

Related: Tom E. Curran predicts this is Rob Gronkowski's last year in New England

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