Now I hate making excuses and blaming the refs, but are you kidding me? Blatant pass interference. I’m not going to say Gronk was going to catch the ball on that play, but at the same time I’m not going to say he wouldn’t of. And that makes it pass interference, Gronk had a shot, maybe a slim shot, but a shot catching that ball, and its a shame he didn’t get the chance to because he was being bear hugged by a Panther linebacker.
That being stated, I said going into this game that the Patriots have not faced a elite mobile quarterback since last year against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, a game in which they lost. And it showed. Cam Newton had some ridiculous scrambles that really took the momentum away from the Patriots Defense whenever they finally mustered some up. I said the Patriots front 7 was banged up, and it showed on these runs. Cam Newton finished with 7 rushes for 62 yards, 209 passing yards, and three passing touchdowns.
The Patriots were unable to stop the Panthers on third down as the Panthers went 8 for 11 (72%).
Steven Ridley continues to have trouble holding on to the ball, and fumbling in the redzone is inexcusable. The Patriots would of at least came away with three points on that possession, which would of been huge at the end of this game.
Other than that, I think the Patriots played very well on offense. They were able to move the ball and put up points on the leagues best defenses. Brady played well also, 296 passing yard, 1 TD and 1 INT (That should not of counted).
On the Panthers final possession, they were able to drive 83 yards on 15 plays, including three third down conversions. The drive ended with a Newton to Ginn touchdown pass on second and fifteen.
Overall, the Patriots did play well enough to win (and should of won) against a very good Panthers team. It is great to see the offense click again against a good opponent. But are the defenses injuries to much to overcome? We will see in the coming weeks.
Next week the Patriots face the Broncos and Peyton Manning on Sunday Night Football which is a very intriguing match up.