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Perry's Report Card: The Gun Show and another tortured young QB

/ by Phil Perry
Presented By Mass School of Law
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Complementary football. 

Complementary football. 

Complementary football. 

In any other year, those words would ring through the facilities at Gillette Stadium incessantly. At the very least, they'd be parroted back to reporters on a loop to emphasize the idea of football as the ultimate team game. One of the pillars of the Patriots program, the virtues of complementary football are extolled now via WebEx calls.

Curran: An on-brand victory for Bill Belichick, Pats

There's no other way to describe what the world saw from the Patriots in Los Angeles on Sunday. Against the Chargers, they did a little bit of everything. Other than succeed in pushing the football down the field, they did a little bit of everything. But that's who they are, and they understand that.

They want to run it. The world knows they want to run it. They run it anyway. 

They want to make big plays in the kicking game. Bill Belichick openly lamented missed opportunities there for weeks earlier this season. Now they've produced a handful over the last two weeks.

They want to bother quarterbacks on defense and make teams earn every yard. They want to create turnovers. They've done that lately as young players have slid into well-defined roles and leaders at all three levels have played to their potential. 

It might be hard to replicate what the Patriots did Sunday. But if they can get just one or two key plays from their kicking game -- instead of what felt like a half-dozen against the Chargers -- they'll be competitive. If they cook up two or three well-timed quarterback pressures -- instead of the three sacks and 11 hits they recorded Sunday -- they'll have a shot to go where they want.

 

Sunday just showed how well-oiled things can look when they hit on every aspect of their 2020 formula for winning. That won't happen on a weekly basis the rest of the way. But some variation of the complementary game they've played over the last five weeks, during which they've gone 4-1, might be enough to keep them in the hunt.

Let's get to the grades . . . 

Phil Perry's Patriots Report Card for Week 13 win over Chargers