Patriots Cheat Sheet – Week 15 vs San Francisco

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The “It’s Better in December than February” Edition

Each week, we do our best to capture the things you may want to know about the Patriots game in case it comes up in casual conversation on your Monday. Last night’s loss to the NFC’s 49ers sure brought plenty to talk about, so let’s get right to the Cheat Sheet.

Well, well. Looks like the train stops at 7 wins in a row for the Pats. It’s alright, all good things must come to an end and it’s better that it was the regular season than the playoffs.

On a cold, rainy night in Foxboro, though, the only word many may have to describe yesterday’s contest against San Francisco was sloppy. Balls squirting out on seemingly every possession, a confused Ed Hochuli trying to explain myriad rulings on the field and more topsy-turvy-ness than anyone with a heart condition could want. At the end of the day, it was a loss – even if it did look interesting there for a little – and not a great one at that. The silver lining: this team needed a fire under its ass, and maybe having to work through the playoffs and take some road wins will help prepare them as they get deeper into the postseason.

Here’s what else you should know:

  • 12 Minutes of Fury – When the 49ers scored the fourth touchdown early in the third, extending their lead to 38-3, there was a strong desire to turn off the TVs and/or head to the parking lot. Then, in what seemed to be a major wake up moment for both the defense and Tom Brady’s crew, the Pats went to work. All of a sudden the muskets were firing and the Pats were tied.
  • Give it All Away – The firework smoke was still in the air when the Pats let up a big kickoff return after the tying touchdown. One play later, the 49ers had a lead they never had to give up. It was a deflating moment for a crowd that was nearly out of it and got pulled all the way in.
  • Target Acquired: Hernandez – Brady has many weapons, but there usually is something wrong when he picks out one guy to over target. Aaron Hernandez caught 10 balls, but he was targeted almost twice that. That means that Welker was getting double-covered and Lloyd was the only deep threat. The thing to note is how much this will change when Brady has both Aaron and Gronkowski to play with out of tight end and spread sets.

With two weeks to go in the season, the Pats are safely in but scoreboard watching to see where they’ll end up. A win in Jacksonville next week keeps the Pats at the three seed, but we are all cheering against, who else, Peyton Manning to see if the Pats can climb back to the bye week.