Patriots

Lombardi on Pats: 'You can't just outscore people . . . This isn't the ABA'

patriots_tom_brady_offensive_line_100217.jpg

Lombardi on Pats: 'You can't just outscore people . . . This isn't the ABA'

One look at the numbers will tell you that the Patriots aren't a balanced team at the moment. 

They rank first in the NFL in yards per game (423.8) and they're second in points per game (32.3 points). Defensively, no one is allowing more yards per game (456.8) and only the Colts are giving up more points per game (32.0). 

MORE PATRIOTS

Former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff Mike Lombardi looks at the two latter figures comes to the conclusion that even with the league's best offense, Bill Belichick's club isn't going very far.

"The Patriots defense, that's not a playoff caliber defense right now," Lombardi said on his GM Street podcast. "That's not a playoff caliber team. You can't outscore people. This isn't the ABA."

Lombardi suggested that Belichick and Matt Patricia simplify things defensively as the cure, though Patriots players said after the game on Sunday that they've already simplified things to a great extent.

"It’s not getting better, and it’s not going to get better anytime soon," Lombardi said. "The Patriots have always had a hard time playing against quarterbacks that move around . . . I thought the Patriots offense would control the ball 34 minutes in the game and keep the Panthers off the field as much as they could. They couldn't control it. Even though they won the time of possession they didn't do it well enough.

"They punted twice a game and it cost them. They only had nine possessions, which is really bad. Typically you get 12 possessions in a game. You can’t go into a game and have everything lay at Tom Brady’s feet. Thirty points should win a game for you. And now they’ve lost two home games because their defense can’t stop anybody."

Lombardi also noted the obvious, which is there wasn't nearly enough resistance provided on multiple Panthers scores.

"They’re not good in the red area, and the one thing you can’t give in the National Football League is give free-access touchdowns," he said. "They don’t give you free houses in Beverly Hills; they shouldn’t give you free access touchdowns. And the Patriots are good at giving free-access touchdowns.

"We’ve seen it every week. We saw it in the opening week against Kansas City. It didn’t happen in New Orleans, but it happens every week. And there’s a huge communication problem. There’s a complete disconnect that I’ve never seen before in my career around Bill Belichick in terms of the back end."

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Doctors believe Carson Wentz has torn ACL

eagles_carson_wentz_injury_121017.jpg

Doctors believe Carson Wentz has torn ACL

LOS ANGELES - Two sources familiar with the injury tell The Associated Press that doctors believe Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in a win over the Rams on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season and playoffs.

Wentz, a favorite in the NFL MVP race, will have an MRI on Monday to confirm the severity of the injury. Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information. Wentz left the stadium on a cart with a brace on his left leg.

"I don't know anything until we evaluate him (Monday)," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said.

Wentz was hurt late in the third quarter of Philadelphia's 43-35 comeback win at Los Angeles . Backup Nick Foles rallied the Eagles (11-2) to a win that secured the NFC East title and put them in first place in the conference with three games remaining.

"Everyone is really excited about the win but you have your starting quarterback go down, it's emotional," Foles said. "It's emotional for me. I work with him every day so I'm dealing with that."

Wentz was hit hard as he scrambled into the end zone on a play that was called back because of holding. He stayed in the game and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery four plays later , setting the franchise record for most TD passes in a season with 33.

"It shows how tough he is," Pederson said.

Foles replaced Wentz the next drive after the Rams took a 35-31 lead. He led the Eagles to a pair of field goals on consecutive drives. Second-year pro Nate Sudfeld is Philadelphia's No. 3 quarterback.

Wentz arrived in Philadelphia as the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft out of North Dakota State. On Sunday, he dueled with Rams quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in that draft.

After starting all 16 games as a rookie, Wentz made a giant leap this season. He passed for 3,296 yards and only seven interceptions to go with those 33 TDs.

Despite the injury, Wentz stayed in the locker room to greet teammates after the victory over the Rams (9-4).

After the game, Wentz's left knee was wrapped in a brace. He was driven in a cart up the tunnel at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and then hobbled to one of the team buses

"He's one of the leaders on the team. He was there congratulating and celebrating with everyone," Foles said.

Foles, a third-round pick by former Eagles coach Andy Reid in 2012, is in his second stint in Philadelphia. He replaced an injured Michael Vick in 2013 and led the Eagles to an NFC East title during Chip Kelly's first season as coach. Foles tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in a game at Oakland in November 2013 and finished that season with 27 TDs and only two picks. The Eagles lost at home to New Orleans in the playoffs. Foles went to the Pro Bowl and was the offensive MVP.

But Kelly traded Foles to St. Louis for Sam Bradford after the 2014 season. Foles spent a year with the Rams, a season with the Chiefs and returned to Philadelphia as a free agent this season.

"I'm absolutely ready to go - need be," Foles said. "I prepare every day."

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE