Patriots

Jacoby Brissett throws interception in overtime, leading to Colts' loss

colts-brissett-091717.jpg

Jacoby Brissett throws interception in overtime, leading to Colts' loss

INDIANAPOLIS -- Carson Palmer managed to get the Arizona Cardinals into overtime Sunday. Tyrann Mathieu and Phil Dawson made sure they got out of Indianapolis pretty darn quick.

Mathieu intercepted new Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett on the first play from scrimmage in the extra period, and Dawson made a 30-yard field goal four plays later to give the Cardinals a 16-13 victory.

"The defense saved me," Dawson said. "Missed one with the game on the line and the game could have turned out another way."

The improbable rally was no small feat on a day full of comebacks.

Palmer seemed to be out of sync with his receivers most of the day, but made just enough plays in the final eight minutes of regulation to give the Cardinals a chance. He was 16 of 39 with 332 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

"The quarterback has to play better. It's that simple," coach Bruce Arians said. "And we have to block better."

Palmer did not respond to the critique.

Arizona's defense allowed scoring drives of 14, eight and 16 plays, but kept Brissett and the Colts out of the end zone for the final 52 minutes before Mathieu came up with the play of the game by undercutting Colts receiver Kamar Aiken.

The usually reliable Dawson then took advantage of a rare second chance after pushing a 42-yard field goal wide right as time expired in regulation.

Yes, everyone played a role as the Cardinals (1-1) avoided their first 0-2 start since 2005.

"We were making plays to win the game instead of to not lose a game," Arians said after tying the late Don Coryell for No. 2 on the franchise's career wins list with 42.

Indy simply blew it.

The Colts never trailed until the final play despite struggling in the red zone and being unable to close it out on offense or defense.

Now coach Chuck Pagano must dig his way out of a fourth consecutive 0-2 start, perhaps the most frustrating yet because of how it slipped away.

"In games like this, you've got to put teams away," he said. "There are no moral victories. We are 0-2 and it is what it is."

For 3 1/2 quarters, it looked as if Pagano made all the right moves.

He went with Brissett over Scott Tolzien, and Brissett led the Colts to 10 points on their first two possessions.

All Indy could muster after that was a chip shot field goal from Adam Vinatieri with 11:42 left in regulation for a 13-3 lead. Brissett was 20 of 37 for 216 yards in his third career start - his first with the Colts, who acquired him in a Sept. 2 trade.

Then, Palmer started playing vintage football.

He hooked up with Jaron Brown on a 22-yard completion and picked up another 15 yards on the play because of a roughing the passer call. On the next play, J.J. Nelsonsplit two defenders and Palmer fit the ball in perfectly for a 45-yard TD pass that made it 13-10.

Palmer followed that with by getting Dawson into position for the tying field goal and they expected to be the winner.

Instead, the Cardinals needed Mathieu's interception and Dawson's second chance.

"I've played long enough to know a win's a win and we have to enjoy it," Palmer said. "It doesn't matter how you get it done, but we got it done."

QUICK SLANTS PODCAST: Belichick ignoring noise? Or trying to change the narrative?

quickslantspodcast_clean.jpg

QUICK SLANTS PODCAST: Belichick ignoring noise? Or trying to change the narrative?

3:00 Why has Bill Belichick been so surprisingly positive of his team’s performance in tight wins?

6:30 Phil Perry breaks down what grades he gave the Patriots on his report card following the win over the Jets

15:00 Reaction to the Austin-Seferian Jenkins overturned touchdown, and what changes need to be made in the NFL replay system. 

23:00 Why was Patriots offensive line much more effective against Jets?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

25:00 Patriots-Falcons preview, how did Falcons blow a 17 point lead to the Dolphins?

What's missing from Patriots? A defense that has a clue

What's missing from Patriots? A defense that has a clue

FOXBORO - We’re not quite at the point of fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, or 40 years of darkness, or even dogs and cats living together, but this Patriots season isn’t headed down the right path, despite a 4-2 record and the top spot in the AFC East. 

There are several elements that appear missing at this juncture - chief among them a defense that actually has a clue. Please don’t celebrate holding the Jets to 17 points - I’m looking at you, Dont’a Hightower. Josh McCown threw for just 194 yards against the Cleveland freakin’ Browns for goodness sake, but he got you for 354 and two scores?! Even the 2009 Patriots defense is offended by that.

MORE

We’d be foolish to think the Pats can’t get this leaky unit fixed for reasons so obvious I won’t state them in this space so as not to waste my time or yours. We also know - long before Bill Belichick’s 6 1/2-minute explanation on the Monday conference call - that it's not supposed to be perfect right now. Actually, it’ll never be perfect. That’s not how this game works. 

Yet week after week, we see uncommon breakdowns and one defender looking at the next as if to say, “I thought you had him?” or more to the point, “what the hell were you doing?” It started Sunday at MetLife on the third play of the game. Malcolm Butler, playing 10 yards off Robby Anderson, looking as if he’s never played the position before, inexplicably turning his back on Anderson even though the wide receiver makes no real move to the post. That results in just about the easiest completion of McCown’s life, a 23-yarder on third-and-10. 

On the same series, on another third-and-long, the Pats rushed four and dropped seven into coverage. Defensive end Cassius Marsh continued his season-long trend of rushing so far upfield he ended up in Hoboken. With Deatrich Wise ridden outside on the opposite edge, McCown wisely stepped up and found prime real estate with New York City views. He wanted to throw and could have when the Pats fouled up a crossing route from the backside of the play. But with that much room to roam, McCown took off, scooting for a quick 16 yards and another first down.

Fittingly, that drive ended with a Jets touchdown on yet another dumb play, this one courtesy of Mr. Hit or Miss, Elandon Roberts. Channeling his inner Brandon Spikes, the second-year pro blew off his key and responsibility on third-and-goal from the 1, charging hard to the line. This, despite one of the most feeble play-action fakes you’ll see. In fact, I’m not even sure it was a real play-action fake. Anyway, score it as a touchdown to Austin Seferian-Jenkins and an indictment on David Harris, who apparently can’t vault past the erratic Roberts on the depth chart.

Similar to the week prior in Tampa, the Pats found better footing after that. They forced three straight three-and-outs in the second quarter and then helped turn the game when Butler intercepted an ill-advised throw by McCown just prior to the half. They got another turnover to start the third, with Butler coming off the edge on fourth-and-1 and forcing McCown into panic mode. The veteran QB fired an off-target throw to - get this - a wide open receiver who went uncovered on a drag route and Devin McCourty was gifted an interception.

But this group frowns on prosperity. It took a little-seen rule to prevent a Seferian-Jenkins touchdown in the fourth, and on the game’s final drive, the Pats allowed a 32-yard completion on fourth-and-12. Then, on what turned out to be the Jets final play, the Pats let Tavaris Cadet leak out of the backfield and run unchecked 20 yards down the field. Had McCown not soiled himself again, Gang Green would have had a first down and at least one crack at the end zone. Then, who knows what the heck happens?

It was just a season ago that the Patriots led the entire NFL in scoring defense. If you’ll recall, we spent a better part of the year wondering if that defense was championship quality. Turns out they were. Right now, we’re wondering once again if this defense is of that ilk, but through an entirely different prism. It’s on the players and staff to change the current outlook, or those cats and dogs will have to figure out their shared space.