This one appears to be on the verge of getting away from the Patriots. And if they play like they have in the second half of road games again — and the Saints turn it up in the second half like they usually do — it will.
The way this thing has played out, it’s almost like the Patriots are lucky to be down just 24-10.
Start with Tom Brady, who’s having his roughest outing since playing the Jets in Week 2. The noise isn’t helping, but the bigger problem is protecting Brady. New Orleans is getting pressure on the perimeter with Will Smith, Charles Grant and Bobby McCray, and that’s forcing rushed decision, or plain indecision from Brady. Since the first drive, an impressive one for New England, the QB is 9-for-16 for 91 yards and a pick.
The momentum really turned with Mike McKenzie (2 weeks off the street, by the way) undercutting Randy Moss on a ball forced to the star receiver. Then, there was a blown coverage that led to Devery Henderson’s 75-yard touchdown. Then, Pierre Thomas exposed poor tackling, and what looked like a bad job in contain by Derrick Burgess score on a screen. Then, Robert Meachem toasted Jonathan Wilhite.
And you get the picture. The Patriots, seeing their protection struggle, have gone to more two-back, shotgun sets to slow the Saints’ edge guy, but Gregg Williams and Co. really seem to have the Patriots off balance — bringing seven to the line pre-snap, and forcing New England to guess.
If the Patriots are gonna turn it around, it has to happen quick. This looks sloppy, and that’s usually not something you see from New England. And they keep playing that way, and New Orleans will run away with this one.