Patriots

Josh McDaniels pulled the right levers for Patriots all night

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NBC Sports Boston illustration

Josh McDaniels pulled the right levers for Patriots all night

FOXBORO -- Games like this one are why Josh McDaniels will always be in demand. The Patriots offensive coordinator may have hurt his Q-rating for the near future when he left the Colts at the altar in February but the game he called Sunday night – especially on the Patriots fourth-quarter possessions – was outstanding.

Start with the overall plan. The Patriots ran out of shotgun and spread situations early in the game almost as often as they threw it out of “heavy” personnel. It helped the offense put up 24 in the first half and score 16 in the fourth (a touchdown and three field goals) and Sony Michel put together another big game on the ground (106 yards on 24 carries). Michel, James White and Kenjon Barner combined for 161 yards on 33 carries. Fullback James Develin was a force in short yardage which is something Bill Belichick said in the postgame was an issue they needed to fix this year.

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE THE GAME

Michel’s third-and-1 conversion coming out of the two-minute warning was a must-have and they got it.

But there’s such volume to the Patriots playbook and McDaniels has such an outstanding feel, he was able to dial up two plays following the Michel conversion that picked up 55 total yards.

First, the Patriots got James White by himself in the left flat 1-on-1 in space and he picked up 16. On the next play, the underneath business froze the free safety and allowed Rob Gronkowski to go down the seam for a 39-yard gain to set up the game-winner.  

“Each situation is a little bit different based on time, timeouts and score and so forth but this one ended up playing out good for us,” said Bill Belichick. “We had the final possession. We had the final opportunity and we made it. Josh called a great game. We had great execution on that drive by a lot of different people. But we work on that stuff every week. Both ways – if they had had it, if we had it, need a touchdown, need a field goal, so forth. We try to be prepared for that.”

It was obvious the Patriots loved their matchups against Kansas City and that -- coupled with the fact they knew Kansas City would probably put up plenty of points as well -- put them in an aggressive mode. They went for it on fourth down on their first drive after a Gronk drop on third down as Brady didn’t seem totally dialed in.

MORE HARD TRUTHS

But they kept going deep into their personnel and on their fourth drive they put it together with a variety of options -- Barner ran three times, Brady hit Gronk for 16 and Edelman for 14, Michel picked up 12 on two carries and Josh Gordon caught one for 6 before Brady hit Edelman for a 17-yard score on third-and-10.

On the next drive, it was White catching one for 17 then carrying for 5, Cordarelle Patterson getting 13 then a long one to Gordon that resulted in a 37-yard DPI.

The Patriots only failed to score on one of their second-half drives and that’s when Brady was strip-sacked on a third-and-10 in the third.

The Patriots put of 500 yards of offense. It’s an entirely different group than what they took the field with against the Lions and Jaguars now that Edelman’s back, Gordon’s being incorporated, and the running game has found its footing. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Breakfast Pod: The Patriots defense has been awfully impressive

Breakfast Pod: The Patriots defense has been awfully impressive

Some takeaways from the Patriots' first three preseason games: a dominant defense, an up-and-coming rookie backup QB and Tom Brady's reluctance to go to young receivers.

1:11 - Tom Curran joins BST to discuss the success of the Patriots defense over these first three preseason games. The crew also gets into if we're starting to see some pieces being put into place for the next phase of the dynasty - specifically if Jarrett Stidham will in fact be the Tom Brady's successor.

8:31 - Andy Hart and Curran discuss the chemistry issues Brady and Jakobi Meyers seemed to be having Thursday night and if this is going to be a continuing problem for TB12 with young receivers.

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DEBUT OF THAT 617 LIFE POD: The Pats, Patrick Chung, and the Jay-Z/NFL partnership

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

DEBUT OF THAT 617 LIFE POD: The Pats, Patrick Chung, and the Jay-Z/NFL partnership

In the premiere episode of "That 617 Life" podcast with Shanda Foster, Cerrone Battle, and Leroy Irvin, man do we have a lot to get through!

Off the top, we discuss the Patriots third preseason game against Carolina, including how Tom Brady looked, Jakobi Meyers with an uneven game, plus what to expect from Josh Gordon this season.

15:31: Shanda sounds off on the tattooed Larry Bird mural, Carmelo Anthony and the Lakers, and James Harden's magical beard powers.

21:51: Patrick Chung got in some hot water over a possible cocaine charge...lots to unpack of what happened at his New Hampshire house.

28:25: Cerrone's "Cold Cuts and Hot Takes" calls out Carmelo Anthony for not taking the hint and going away.

32:34: Jay-Z and the NFL announced a partnership this week, and there's been a lot of chatter on social media relating to Colin Kaepernick. A great discussion from the crew on this topic.

46:11: We finish out the show with "Playa's Call", including an unlikely choice from Shanda.

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE HERE:

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.