The New England Patriots defeated the Arizona Cardinals yesterday afternoon in a game where I didn’t think the Patriots stood a chance. I figured this game was going to look a lot like the week prior against the Houston Texans. Mostly because of Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray and his ability to run. I was not expecting the Patriots to pull out a win against a very solid Cardinals team.
Taking a page out of the Dance Moms playbook, here’s the Patriots Offense Pyramid for Week 12:
Bottom of the Pyramid
Coming off a week of a few clutch receptions, Harry was targeted 3 times and didn’t catch any of them. He’s been highly criticized for his lackluster performance, especially as of late. He’s been caught off guard on more than one occasion, missing several key blocks or negating positive plays due to penalty. During the matchup against Arizona, Harry also was given a rushing attempt and acquired negative yards.
Newton’s afternoon did not get off to a great start. His first pass attempt was intercepted and set up the Cardinals on a short field on their opening drive. This comes after having 4 straight games without throwing an interception. I understand that there was a missed block at the line, but he should have seen it coming. His pocket awareness is severely lacking. This was Newton’s worst outing since joining New England, completing only 50% of his pass attempts for less than 100 yards.
McDaniels continues to call the most predictable plays game after game. Last week, against the Texans, he completely abandoned the run game, against one of the worst rush defenses on the season. This week, McDaniels tried to call a more balanced game, for once, though the play calls didn’t make sense. Par for the course with McDaniels at the helm of the offense. Many times he’d call for sweeps that would result in negative yardage or more questionable third and long calls.
Middle of the Pyramid
Meyers stayed at the top of his game being the team’s go-to receiver. Meyers has been one of the most consistent wide receivers the Patriots have to work with this season. He was targeted 6 times on Sunday’s win against Arizona and caught 5. Accounting for 52 of New England’s 84 passing yards.
Olszewski started the game in an unsuspected role. Normally, he takes his place in the end zone to prepare for the kick return. This week, he was seen taking punt returns instead. He gets a slot in the middle of the pyramid because of the punt return for a touchdown that was negated by a questionable, at best, flag for an illegal blindside block. Olszewski returned 2 punts for a total of 67 yards against the Cardinal’s special teams.
And at the Top of the Pyramid
Sweet Feet lived up to his nickname scoring his first two touchdowns on the season. This season has been a great one for White, he’s been important in both the passing and rushing offenses. This past week might not have been his best, receiving wise, but he is back on the scoresheet. His targets dropped significantly from weeks prior, but White’s effectiveness when called on is what is most important.
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-Jess Donahue (@jldx392)