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Week 16: Defense Played Well Early But Faltered Late
Can't beat the Patriots if the offense can't score a touchdown.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Tyrod Taylor threw a beautiful play action pass to Deonte Thompson for a 46 yard gain. He threw a horrible pass in the red zone to McCoy.
Grade D: No touchdowns against the Pats is not a formula for victory.

Running Backs:

LeSean McCoy was all over the field but he wasn't used enough. He had 22 touches for 147 yards.
Mike Tolbert was active after a week in street clothes and promptly lost two yards on his first carry. He had another negative run and dropped a pass.
Travaris Cadet injured his ankle on his only carry .
Grade B: Shady needs to get the ball more.

Receivers:

Kelvin Benjamin had a third down conversion on his first reception. He made a great catch for a touchdown just before the end of the half. Only the league office thought it wasn't a catch. Looked pretty good and had five catches for 70 yards.
Deonte Thompson was featured early in the offense when he got wide open for a 46 yard gain. Finished with four catches for 91 yards.
Brandon Tate couldn't haul in a pass off his fingertips on the opening drive. It would have been a difficult catch but could have went for a good gainer.
Zay Jones .
Charles Clay dropped a touchdown pass before the controversial play with Benjamin in the end zone. He had four catches for 37 yards.
Grade B: Nice game from Benjamin and Thompson.

Offensive Line:

Grade D: Gave up six sacks.

Defensive Line:

Kyle Williams got a nice sack to force a field goal.
Jerry Hughes was quiet but had a nice tackle from behind of Brady for a sack.
Grade C: Didn't get enough pressure.

Linebackers:

.
Preston Brown had a great read on a screen pass after a fake reverse for a one yard loss. He had 14 tackles and was all over the field.
Lorenzo Alexander had three tackles.
Matt Milano got a great read on a toss sweep to stop Dion Lewis for little gain.
Grade C: Were solid for more than a half but couldn't sustain it.

Secondary:

Tre'Davious White was solid in coverage and had five tackles.
Trae Elston came in for a play when Hyde was shaken up and was called for pass interference in the end zone on a bomb to Gronkowksi.
Leonard Johnson gave up a third down catch to Danny Amendola and missed a tackle on Dorsett on the Pats first field goal drive.
Micah Hyde was beaten by Rob Gronkowski for a second quarter touchdown. He had good position but Gronk just made the play. He was called for a pass interference penalty on a bomb to Cooks.
Jordan Poyer broke beautifully on a Brady pass and picked it off and took it back for a touchdown.
Grade C-: It's hard to beat Brady.

Special Teams:

Colton Schmidt three punts for a 48 yard average with one inside the 20.
Steve Hauschka hit 3 of 4 field goal attempts.
Brandon Tate had kickoff returns of 19 and 13 yards.
Coverage Units did a solid job stopping Lewis on kickoff returns short of the 25. Gave up punt returns of 9 and 10 yards.
Grade B: Not the reason for the loss.

Coaching:

Sean McDermott showed some guts and had the team go for it on 4th and 2 from the Patriots 6 in the 2nd quarter. They didn't convert. No problem going for it but they should have run it on 3rd and 2 if they were in four down tettitory. He then went the opposite way when they tried a 50 yard field goal down by a touchdown on 4th and 1.
Rick Dennison couldn't get his offense moving. Why throw the ball so often when Shady is running well and is the man the offense should be revolving around? Throwing a low percentage deep sideline pass on a big 3rd and 4 late in the first half was idiotic. Throwing twice in a row on the goal line was wrong as well.
Leslie Frazier had a good gameplan but his defense couldn't keep up when the offense was so inept.
Grade F: Dennison needs to go at the end of the year.



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