I don’t care that they somehow beat the Cardinals 27-13 on Monday Night Football for the entire country to see, becuase what the entire country also saw is that they are a disaster. Here’s a look at the scoring drives from Monday night:
Patriots 0 – Cardinals 3 | 7 plays, 20 yards – Matt Prater 33-yard FG
Patriots 7 – Cardinals 3 | 8 plays, 75 yards – Kevin Harris 14-yard TD
Patriots 7 – Cardinals 6 | 6 plays, 56 yards – Matt Prater 32-yard FG
Patriots 7 – Cardinals 13 | 7 plays, 63 yards – James Conner 10-yard TD
Patriots 10 – Cardinals 13 | 6 plays, 35 yards – Nick Folk 51-yard FG
Patriots 13 – Cardinals 13 | 8 plays, 71 yards – Nick Folk 23-yard FG
Patriots 20 – Cardinals 13 | Raekwon McMillan fumble return TD
Here are my five takeaways from New England’s luck-filled win vs. the Cardinals:
5. Kliff Kingsbury might be fired by the time the sun comes up.
I understand that Kyler Murray went down on Arizona’s first drive – but that’s no excuse. Colt McCoy is 1-1 this season as a starter this season and is able to win games in the NFL.
2023 #Patriots offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.
— Mike Kadlick (@mikekadlick) December 13, 2022
The fact that the Cardinals couldn’t get by this Patriots team is a fireable offense. We all saw it. New England is not good – and this was a winnable game for Arizona. Kliff can call an offense, but he’s got to go as head coach.
4. Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong could be a solution to the Patriots’ battered RB room.
New England, unfortunately, lost star running back Rhamondre Stevenson to an ankle injury on Monday night. There’s no official timetable for his return, and many thought the Patriots would be screwed without their de facto bell cow – including me.
However, the tandem of rookie running backs Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris filled the void just fine on Monday night. Strong rushed five times for 70 yards and a touchdown, and Kevin Harris carried the ball eight times for 26 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots obviously will want at least one of Stevenson or Damien Harris back ASAP – but their fabulous drafting over the last two seasons has given them a buffer in the RB room.
3. Give Marcus Jones a breather.
Sure, it’s great to have a guy that you can put literally, anywhere in a pinch when you’re dealing with an injury or need a spark, but Marcus Jones already needs to have a snap count put on him. Here’s what he did in Arizona tonight (h/t Jeff Howe):
8 tackles (7 solo)
1 INT, 18-yard return
2 kick returns, 47 yards
1 punt return, 7 yards
2 pass deflections
1 catch, 12 yards
You know what would be even better than getting your cornerback/kick returner the ball in space on offense? Drawing up something similar with the 50th pick in the 2022 draft Tyquan Thorton! That’s what you brought him here for, after all.
Using Jones in a pinch is fine – but you’re going to burn him out by next season at this rate.
2. The best offense is a good defense.
Though New England’s defense has started to tail off a little bit down the stretch here, they’d still be absolutely nowhere without them in 2022.
The turning point in this game was a third-quarter Kyle Dugger forced fumble on DeAndre Hopkins that Raewkon McMillan picked up and returned for a touchdown. It flipped the game on its head and showed how resilient this Patriots defense can be.
Oh also, Josh Uche is a monster and has officially come into his own. He has 10 sacks in New England’s last five games and is a perfect bookend opposite Matthew Judon on the defensive line.
1. Bill Belichick is on the hot seat.
I tried my hardest to not complain about the offense until the very end. So here goes:
The way the Patriots are running their offense is an absolute disaster and it’s a disgrace to the beautiful game of football. Mac Jones deserves so much better than this nonsense.
The epitome of it all was at the end of the first half – New England had ten seconds left, two timeouts, and was in scoring range… and they ran the football. RAN THE FOOTBALL! It made absolutely zero sense. Why are you not trying to score a touchdown? Matt Patricia is not capable of calling an NFL offense.
That’s not his fault. It’s Bill Belichick’s. He put these pieces in place, and it has failed. Miserably. Here’s what I wrote about the idea of the Patriots moving on from Belichick earlier this week:
With what Belichick has shown in 2022, you wouldn’t be putting the loss of high-level coaching at risk if you looked elsewhere. Bill has not been good this season.
It’s been reported that former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is “considering NFL options”, and there has been an overwhelming assumption that he could come back to New England to replace Matt Patricia.
However, given the idea that the Kraft’s could be ready to move on from Belichick, maybe O’Brien is actually in line to be the next head coach in Foxboro – just like so many have speculated over the years.
If the offense continues to look like it did on Monday, something has to change, and the buck stops with Bill.
New England is somehow, some way, an AFC playoff team through 14 weeks. Here are the standings:
1. Buffalo Bills
2. Kansas Chiefs
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. Tennessee Titans
5. Cincinnati Bengals
6. Miami Dolphins
7. New England Patriots
The Patriots are back on a short week after their mini-bye and will take on the Raiders next Sunday from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Keep it with us here at CLNSMedia.com for all the latest Patriots news as this middling season comes to a close.
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