Was the Patriots’ 19-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a signal that the New England defense made a few revelatory steps after the first-quarter of the National Football League season, or was the lack of scoring more a matter of the Thursday night product. For Week 5 in the NFL and for the second time during the 2017 season, New England kicked things off with a Thursday Night Football contest. Instead, Tom Brady had 2 turnovers with his first interception of the year and a fumble late in the game.
Getting back into the win column was important for New England. But on Thursday night they were not.
New England (2-2) enters the match searching for answers on defense, trying to avoid falling below.500 beyond the second week of a season for the first time since 2012. It was a rather odd game to see as many saw both offenses likely to play strong tonight. Sure, that flag against Amendola could just have easily not been thrown, but he did fully extend his arm, so the penalty was called. “We had a feeling they’d make some changes and they mixed their zone coverages a lot more tonight”.
It was that kind of night for the Patriots. New England’s receivers dropped too many balls, including Brandin Cooks, who missed multiple catches he should have made.
Jameis Winston has won a national championship and the Heisman Trophy, but he was positively giddy about the chance to meet Tom Brady.
The Patriots have been troubled by a serious of injuries, especially to their already thin Wide Receiver corps.
This will be a game, likely, that makes New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick seethe because of his team’s sloppiness. He led his team down the field on the final drive of the game, losing on a pass to the end zone where target Cameron Brate and Winston were clearly not on the same page.
The safety play was outstanding for New England, as McCourty finished as the team’s leading tackler with 11 and Patrick Chung had three passes deflected.
Not that the Patriots needed any extra motivation, but they were well aware of what had been written and said about their porous defense following Sunday’s debacle against the Panthers.
Howard started for Tampa Bay, but didn’t have a reception in the game. When Tampa punted again, it seemed like they could fall well behind. So you’d assume that Folk didn’t even need to visit the locker room, that he could have jogged right out of Raymond James Stadium and into the Tampa Night in full uniform, never to return.
Brady threw a 5-yard TD pass to Chris Hogan in the second quarter, and Stephen Gostkowski kicked field goals of 27, 23, 45 and 48 yards for the Patriots (3-2).
The Buccaneers, now 2-2, were done in by Nick Folk missing three field goals in the close loss.