The Game Goat Thread: Wk. 1 vs Miami

RG33

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I woke up today thinking “we have our franchise QB”. Then I smiled.
 

Captaincoop

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It will be interesting to see how the snaps were distributed among the defensive linemen. It felt like some ineffective run defenders were on the field a lot (Wise/Winovich).
 

Ralphwiggum

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I would have to watch the replay to be sure, but on first watch, it also looked like he made no attempt to get the ball back after he let it go, just counting on the call to go the right way. That wouldn't sit well with the coaching staff either.
I agree with this. We know Bill doesn't love RBs who fumble, but whether you thought you were down or not, you have to fight for possession there.
 

GB5

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The tight ends were much more involved obviously than last years tandem, however J. Smith, in limited touches, put the ball on the ground once, that cant happen. Luckily it was recovered. One play that really bothered me was the second to last meaningful play of the game. 2nd and 5 for dolphins, and the Pats hold the runner to a 2 yard gain, then they push the pile ahead for almost 3 more yards. turned what would have been a 3rd and three with Tua, which is a defendable play, into a 3rd and inches with Brissett which is essentially unguardable.
 

tims4wins

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Almost immediately before the Harris fumble, I was thinking to myself how impressed I was with him. The dude was running HARD and making extra yards on every single run. That last drive was methodical and excellent. It's really too bad how much the narrative shifted due to the fumble.

It would have been interesting to see how the game played out if the Pats ended up kicking a FG on that drive. I'm not sure I could honestly say I'd peg their chances of winning at much better than 50-50. But would have liked to see the D get a chance knowing Tua had to pass.
 

Jungleland

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I'd like to see one more week of Stevenson before he gets stapled to the bench. That he got into the game on the second offensive series implied to me that going into the game, the coaching staff had confidence in him. Fumbling and almost getting your QB killed are about as bad as 5 snaps can go, but they are going to need production from the 2nd between the tackles role.
 

SMU_Sox

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They just had too many uncharacteristic mistakes with penalties and putting the ball on the ground. They had 4 chunk plays in the game of over 20 yards. I’m still concerned about their inability to generate chunk plays but Mac did convert some 3rd and longs…

Overall the goats to me were Harris and Stevenson but I don’t think Stevenson fumbled.

The run defense was supposed to be improved but when it was crunch time they let the Dolphins run 3 times for a 1st down. That’s inexcusable.

It was also a close game and the refs had an impact calling the Wynn hold and awarding Miami the ball from the Stevenson fumble. I’m not blaming the refs for the entire outcome but their decisions did cause a negative outcome for the Pats.
 

BaseballJones

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Giving Harris the goat award is so hard because he played really well up until that last moment. I mean, the last moment (the fumble) was obviously a disaster, so I suppose he deserves it, but he had a terrific game all night long until then.
 

Van Everyman

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They just had too many uncharacteristic mistakes with penalties and putting the ball on the ground. They had 4 chunk plays in the game of over 20 yards. I’m still concerned about their inability to generate chunk plays but Mac did convert some 3rd and longs…

Overall the goats to me were Harris and Stevenson but I don’t think Stevenson fumbled.

The run defense was supposed to be improved but when it was crunch time they let the Dolphins run 3 times for a 1st down. That’s inexcusable.

It was also a close game and the refs had an impact calling the Wynn hold and awarding Miami the ball from the Stevenson fumble. I’m not blaming the refs for the entire outcome but their decisions did cause a negative outcome for the Pats.
I mentioned this in the game thread, but Howe said there seemed to be some communications issues on the first few drives, particularly w/r/t zone defense. That jibed with what my eyes told me, as you saw KVN running onto the field at the very last second on the first drive and guys talking to each other right up until the Fins snapped the ball. Also, it seemed that the defense struggled playing against uptempo/2-minute-drill-type offense -- which IIRC, the Dolphins only did on the two drives they scored on.

My sense is that some of the disorganization and sloppiness has to do with the sheer number of new guys and that they will clean that stuff up as the season goes on. We all remember that in 2017 Gilmore almost got benched before coming around (tho the defense overall never did). This is a much more talented D than that team's was, but as with everything Belichick, the system is fairly complex and it takes a little time for guys to understand it -- even the best ones.
 

ragnarok725

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Almost immediately before the Harris fumble, I was thinking to myself how impressed I was with him. The dude was running HARD and making extra yards on every single run. That last drive was methodical and excellent. It's really too bad how much the narrative shifted due to the fumble.

It would have been interesting to see how the game played out if the Pats ended up kicking a FG on that drive. I'm not sure I could honestly say I'd peg their chances of winning at much better than 50-50. But would have liked to see the D get a chance knowing Tua had to pass.
I saw a win probability graph that had them at 84% on the play prior to the fumble. With the ball, the clock running, and in chip shot field goal range, their chances were very good to win. They also had a chance to get into the end zone and go for two, which is certainly being factored into that percentage.
 

Cellar-Door

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I thought the same. BB benched Stevenson and he really shouldn’t have.
He actually brought him back in and he absolutely botched a block and almost got his QB injured. That was the final straw. You make major mistakes on 40% of your snaps you're done for the day
 

wiffleballhero

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In the simulacrum
Trent Brown getting injured really sucked.

To my mind, the obvious goat issues are penalties and fumbles. But I think if Brown had been in there all day, they win this game.
 

cshea

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On the block, at least he got in there. It wasn't a missed assignment, or a Devonte Freeman type half-assed whiff. Stevenson just got steamrolled. Obviously can't happen but also feels like something they can work with him on technique and can be improved over time.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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Do you break down every team's games like this to see if their stats are also "misleading"?

Don't get me wrong - I appreciate your thoroughness and you do a good job breaking things down. But you seem to be mostly interested in doing it to show that the Pats are worse than people think.
I can't agree with the last sentence, with due respect.

I appreciate SN's breakdowns because it pokes holes in my (and sometimes) most Pats fans' assumptions and popular narratives.

I never felt the original intention was to show the team in a more negative light, especially on purpose.
 

splendid splinter

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I agree with this. We know Bill doesn't love RBs who fumble, but whether you thought you were down or not, you have to fight for possession there.
I will third this. He committed two cardinal sins on that play. Don't put the ball on the turf, regardless of whether you're down or not (because you give the refs a chance to screw you). And don't assume the refs are going to give you the ball even if you know you were down, go after it so they don't have a chance to screw you.
 

lexrageorge

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Agree that there was no way the coaches could put Stevenson back out there after the fumble and the whiff on the block.

Hopefully Stevenson is spending a lot of time with Ivan this week. He'll need to show some things in practice first, but I'm fairly confident that we'll hear more from him later this season.
 

BaseballJones

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I can't agree with the last sentence, with due respect.

I appreciate SN's breakdowns because it pokes holes in my (and sometimes) most Pats fans' assumptions and popular narratives.

I never felt the original intention was to show the team in a more negative light, especially on purpose.
That's fair. He's an excellent poster and clearly knows his stuff. It just feels to me like more often than not, his analysis is one that shows the Pats as not being as good as people think.

He may be 100% right about that, by the way. But that's how it comes off to me.
 

Saints Rest

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Other than the plays that we remember for years (Malcolm Butler, Miami Miracle type plays), this was about as big as it gets. It was a 40% swing, and at a glance it was the second highest shift in win % so far this week, across all games. I could see your point if the Pats needed a TD or if the fumble happened early in the drive when they were at midfield, but they were just about in old school extra point range for the go ahead points. It was that bad.
Situationally, this play reminded me a lot of Cam's fumble late in the first Pats/Bills game last year. I'd have to dig up the game log to compare, but my memory says it was a similar situation that without the fumble, and even not gaining another yard, there would have been a pretty straightforward GW-FG attempt without much clock left.
 

BaseballJones

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There was still 3:31 left when Harris fumbled and Miami took over. Let's say he doesn't fumble and the Pats can't put it in the end zone but kick a field goal instead. If Miami uses one of their time outs, they get the ball back with, what, about 2:45 left and two timeouts, needing only to get in field goal range to win.

Especially if we take Super Nomario's analysis of the relative ineffectiveness of NE's pass defense into account, winning the game in that situation is not a sure thing at all. Miami would have had plenty of time left, two timeouts, plus the two-minute warning, needing to advance the ball about 40 yards to go for the win.
 

tims4wins

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Situationally, this play reminded me a lot of Cam's fumble late in the first Pats/Bills game last year. I'd have to dig up the game log to compare, but my memory says it was a similar situation that without the fumble, and even not gaining another yard, there would have been a pretty straightforward GW-FG attempt without much clock left.
But this isn’t the case, like, at all.

It was first and 10 from the 11 with 3:31 left. Miami had all 3 timeouts. If they kept the Pats out of the end zone and used all 3 timeouts they would still have had 3 minutes left down by 2. Or more likely 2+ minutes with 1-2 timeouts depending on whether the Pats ran or passed. Point is Miami would have had plenty of time to mount a drive. Clock would barely have even been a factor.

Edit beaten by @BaseballJones
 

ragnarok725

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But this isn’t the case, like, at all.

It was first and 10 from the 11 with 3:31 left. Miami had all 3 timeouts. If they kept the Pats out of the end zone and used all 3 timeouts they would still have had 3 minutes left down by 2. Or more likely 2+ minutes with 1-2 timeouts depending on whether the Pats ran or passed. Point is Miami would have had plenty of time to mount a drive. Clock would barely have even been a factor.

Edit beaten by @BaseballJones
You're already assuming a ton of the upside out of their situation. Sure, if Miami holds on the very next series they may be in OK shape to have one drive to try to win the game. But a first down changes that. A touchdown changes that. And even if they get the ball back with over 2 minutes, Tua would be forced to pass when the Pats know he's passing. I give their chance of driving all the way down to score a good deal less than 50/50. They had only scored on 3 of a previous 8 drives when they had the benefit of their whole playbook.

The Pats were heavy favorites at the time of the fumble. When you factor in the TD possibility, it may be 80%+ at that point in time. Given that in the Cam situation, a FG would only have forced overtime instead of put the Pats ahead, I'd guess Harris's fumble had an even bigger impact on win probability than Cam's last year.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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Overall the goats to me were Harris and Stevenson but I don’t think Stevenson fumbled.
I agree with you, but I thought the lack of compete when the ball came out was kind of unacceptable. Maybe as a vet you get a little leeway, but as a rookie you have to play to the whistle. Couple this with getting absolutely blown up on that pass protection showed that, fundamentally, Rhamondre didn't come to play. Both seem like pretty easy (and quick) fixes.
 

Super Nomario

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So Gaskin had two huge runs - 2 rushes for 30 yards. But otherwise had 7 rushes for 19 yards (2.7 ypc).

So out of the 9 rushes by Gaskin, 5 of them were below-average gains.
This is a pretty standard distribution. If you strip out Harris' 35 yarder his stats look a lot worse too. Running average is distorted pretty severely by long runs because the shortest runs are so much closer to the average. League-wide average yards per carry is 4+ but median is between 2 and 3. 4 of 9 runs being successful is a good rate.

Pro Football Reference has EPA up and they back up my statements: Miami had the 6th-best running EPA (so NE's run D was 6th-worst).

However, Miami's passing offense was 8th-worst, which suggests they didn't pass as well as their surface numbers (7.5 YPA) suggest and the Pats pass D played better. Overall EPA grades out the Pats D as 8th-best in Week 1 (of the 30 teams that have played). So my overall pessimism on the D looks unfounded.
 

BaseballJones

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That's helpful. I think overall the D was pretty good. Not great, because you're right - in key situations they didn't really get some important stops. But at the end of the day if the Pats get the winning touchdown late we are all walking away feeling pretty darned good about their first performance of the season.

Alas.
 

SMU_Sox

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When the DVOA numbers come out I expect the Pats will have had the better DVOA… not that it matters because it’s a loss but they lost because of like @Super Nomario said, some truly uncharacteristic things like bad situational football, a litany of penalties, and putting the ball on the ground. If anything that should be fixed going forward. I still have some worries about systemic issues like that they seem to want to play a condensed game with 8-10 drives per team. If you do that your margin of error with mistakes is nil. You can’t recover from mistakes easily. They did have 4 20+ yard plays and would have had more if not for penalties.
 

Captaincoop

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Almost immediately before the Harris fumble, I was thinking to myself how impressed I was with him. The dude was running HARD and making extra yards on every single run. That last drive was methodical and excellent. It's really too bad how much the narrative shifted due to the fumble.

It would have been interesting to see how the game played out if the Pats ended up kicking a FG on that drive. I'm not sure I could honestly say I'd peg their chances of winning at much better than 50-50. But would have liked to see the D get a chance knowing Tua had to pass.
50/50ish? That's like saying that if you could choose to be the Dolphins or the Patriots before that snap, you'd have to think about it for even half a second?

It was first down. They could have run off a lot more clock before kicking a FG, or could have punched it in for a TD and put the Dolphins in a really tough spot, or both.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I know that 17 points is pretty good. (Though we really don't know if Miami would have been able to do better if they had needed a score on their last drive.)

But I was really disappointed with the defense in the last drive. As we all know from being on the other side of that situation needing a first down or two to put the game away it is much harder than it seems. Defenses usually play hard to stop the short stuff and offenses are reluctant to put over the first line of the defense in the air to avoid clock stopping plays.

We've been really lucky for many years to see situations in which one of the three units has had the back of another unit after a mistake or letdown. Those seem like real teambuilding opportunities and the chance for these units that practice all week focusing on their own jobs and in their own rooms to play as a team. Complementary football. I'm really bummed that the defense missed an opportunity to have the back of the kid after making a big mistake.

First and 14 from near your own goal line needing to run out the clock to protect a lead should be a tough situation. When the Patriots have been in those situations it seems like every yard is a struggle and that's how it seems in other NFL games too. But the defense didn't even put up minimal resistance. They just got punched in the face and dragged down the field even after they got a second chance on a 9 yard first down run with a holding penalty.

They pay the other guys too and forcing a 3 and out should never be a given in light of the rules that are so helpful to the offense. So, you can never really expect a stop there. But it seemed like they folded completely and never had a chance.
 

ShaneTrot

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I was unable to watch this game but when I look at the box score I am amazed they lost. How do you lose a game when you outgain the other team by 134 yards, have 50% more first downs, go 11-16 on third down (while holding the other team to 4-11 on third down), and are only -1 in the turnover department. Obviously, this game goes into the stats are for losers category but fuck me if they barely miss the playoffs, this loss is a killer.
 

tims4wins

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You're already assuming a ton of the upside out of their situation. Sure, if Miami holds on the very next series they may be in OK shape to have one drive to try to win the game. But a first down changes that. A touchdown changes that. And even if they get the ball back with over 2 minutes, Tua would be forced to pass when the Pats know he's passing. I give their chance of driving all the way down to score a good deal less than 50/50. They had only scored on 3 of a previous 8 drives when they had the benefit of their whole playbook.

The Pats were heavy favorites at the time of the fumble. When you factor in the TD possibility, it may be 80%+ at that point in time. Given that in the Cam situation, a FG would only have forced overtime instead of put the Pats ahead, I'd guess Harris's fumble had an even bigger impact on win probability than Cam's last year.
Per the game charts the Pats went from about 70% to win to 70% to lose on the play. I don't think I'm assuming a ton of upside for Miami. The Pats red zone offense was lousy all day. It was 2nd and 9 or 8. The chance of the Pats getting a first down were very small IMO - the chances of a touchdown were higher, for sure. The Pats were playing fairly conservatively at that point. I think the likeliest outcome of that scenario is a field goal with 1 or 2 timeouts burned by Miami and some ~2:30 left on the clock. But I agree I would have liked to see the Pats D against Miami there knowing they (mostly) would have had to throw.
50/50ish? That's like saying that if you could choose to be the Dolphins or the Patriots before that snap, you'd have to think about it for even half a second?

It was first down. They could have run off a lot more clock before kicking a FG, or could have punched it in for a TD and put the Dolphins in a really tough spot, or both.
They couldn't have run any more clock since Miami had all 3 timeouts. A TD would certainly have made things very difficult for Miami.

I fully agree I'd have rather been the Pats in that situation. All I'm saying is that if Miami held the Pats to a field goal, that game would still have been very much up in the air. I don't know what you want to call the chances of winning - probably still 60-70% - but Miami would have had a much better chance to win than, say, the 2018 finale.
 

Captaincoop

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Per the game charts the Pats went from about 70% to win to 70% to lose on the play. I don't think I'm assuming a ton of upside for Miami. The Pats red zone offense was lousy all day. It was 2nd and 9 or 8. The chance of the Pats getting a first down were very small IMO - the chances of a touchdown were higher, for sure. The Pats were playing fairly conservatively at that point. I think the likeliest outcome of that scenario is a field goal with 1 or 2 timeouts burned by Miami and some ~2:30 left on the clock. But I agree I would have liked to see the Pats D against Miami there knowing they (mostly) would have had to throw.

They couldn't have run any more clock since Miami had all 3 timeouts. A TD would certainly have made things very difficult for Miami.

I fully agree I'd have rather been the Pats in that situation. All I'm saying is that if Miami held the Pats to a field goal, that game would still have been very much up in the air. I don't know what you want to call the chances of winning - probably still 60-70% - but Miami would have had a much better chance to win than, say, the 2018 finale.
Yeah, and if Miami burned all their timeouts, the situation on the following drive is even tighter, being limited in their ability to stop the clock and set up a FG, etc.

The Pats would have been in great, great shape after that score. It wasn't "the game", but it was an enormous mistake by Harris that cost them a fantastic shot at a win.
 

SMU_Sox

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How often do you lose when you outgain a team 393-259 and outgain them on a per play basis: 5.6 to 5.0? Not often. 8 penalties for 84 yards, fumbling 4 times, and the run D coming up short all day. Still 393-259 and that 393 yards is on 8 drives... that's almost a 50 yards per drive!
 

Jimbodandy

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How often do you lose when you outgain a team 393-259 and outgain them on a per play basis: 5.6 to 5.0? Not often. 8 penalties for 84 yards, fumbling 4 times, and the run D coming up short all day. Still 393-259 and that 393 yards is on 8 drives... that's almost a 50 yards per drive!
I feel like we're in RMPS talking about how the Broonz put 42 shots on goal and lost to the Habs who only shot 24 times but won 3-1. Maybe it's Tuukka's fault.
 

Big McCorkle

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Here are the PFF grades for the game with snap counts and everything, if anyone's interested:
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How often do you lose when you outgain a team 393-259 and outgain them on a per play basis: 5.6 to 5.0? Not often. 8 penalties for 84 yards, fumbling 4 times, and the run D coming up short all day. Still 393-259 and that 393 yards is on 8 drives... that's almost a 50 yards per drive!
Yeah, the loss is one that you feel between the cheeks but ultimately there's no reason to come away from it with anything other than optimism, at least as long as the Trent Brown injury isn't too serious. (But even then, I think we can swing Onwenu out to tackle again.)
 

tims4wins

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Yeah, and if Miami burned all their timeouts, the situation on the following drive is even tighter, being limited in their ability to stop the clock and set up a FG, etc.

The Pats would have been in great, great shape after that score. It wasn't "the game", but it was an enormous mistake by Harris that cost them a fantastic shot at a win.
I don't consider being up by a point with over 2 minutes left and the other team getting the ball "great, great" shape, but YMMV. It's such a passing league that teams can score without timeouts with like half that amount of time. Hell the Seahawks went 75 yards for a touchdown in 30 seconds in SB49.
 

bakahump

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Stevenson.
He is dead to me. Fumble (which I dont think was a fumble but i guess it was close) AND an absolute dog shit Blitz pickup on the next play ended his day.

.....
Dead to me until he recovers and never fumbles again for the rest of the year while racking up 500+ yards.
But Man he needs to learn to block.
 

Captaincoop

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I don't consider being up by a point with over 2 minutes left and the other team getting the ball "great, great" shape, but YMMV. It's such a passing league that teams can score without timeouts with like half that amount of time. Hell the Seahawks went 75 yards for a touchdown in 30 seconds in SB49.
Yes, and if the Dolphins had Russell Wilson I'd be concerned in that spot. But they don't.
 

Cotillion

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Stevenson.
He is dead to me. Fumble (which I dont think was a fumble but i guess it was close) AND an absolute dog shit Blitz pickup on the next play ended his day.

.....
Dead to me until he recovers and never fumbles again for the rest of the year while racking up 500+ yards.
But Man he needs to learn to block.
note the difference between how White (i think it was him) reacted when ref was signaling incomplete pass to a loose ball when Mac went braindead and threw it at his feet... versus Rham who didn't even try to go after the ball after it got ripped out. I really think the non-chalant "ball's out no big deal I was down" did more to hurt him than anything. He then followed it up with the less than stellar passblocking that got his QB tackled at his knees as noted.
 

tims4wins

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On the subject of Harris and fatigue - where does everyone stand? On the one hand, he made a really hard run on 3rd and 2 right before the 5 minute mark to give them a first down, then asked out of the game. Bolden game in for a play a 5 yard run), then Harris was still on the sideline for the completion to Jonnu to the 11. So Harris had two plays off before the fateful fumble. I'm of the mindset that while he did have a lot of work yesterday, it wasn't like he fumbled after carrying 3 straight plays or something. It's hard to blame fatigue there (and by extension, the coaching staff for benching Stevenson, etc.).
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Almost immediately before the Harris fumble, I was thinking to myself how impressed I was with him. The dude was running HARD and making extra yards on every single run. That last drive was methodical and excellent. It's really too bad how much the narrative shifted due to the fumble.

It would have been interesting to see how the game played out if the Pats ended up kicking a FG on that drive. I'm not sure I could honestly say I'd peg their chances of winning at much better than 50-50. But would have liked to see the D get a chance knowing Tua had to pass.
Patriots were 70% favorites prior to the Harros fumble.
 

ZMart100

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Coaching. If you have a dominant downfield threat virtually unstoppable at the point of attack, you should probably find a way to get him the ball.
 

BaseballJones

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I just re-watched the game. I though that other than the fumble, Harris ran great. He often got yards when nothing was there. Mac made a ton of great throws, often under duress. The receivers were solid and the TEs were good.

Hard to not be really encouraged by what I saw. The penalties and fumbles and otherwise the offense looks like it could be very good.