Patriots

Patriots Takeaways: Russell Wilson carves up Pats pass defense in win

Patriots

The New England Patriots nearly pulled off a late comeback in Sunday night's Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, but Russell Wilson and his red-hot passing attack proved to be too much for Bill Belichick's defense.

Wilson firmly established himself as the NFL's leading candidate for MVP with five touchdown passes against one of the league's top pass defenses in a 35-30 win. He wasn't alone, though, as Seattle's run game also had a strong showing with 154 yards on 30 carries (5.4 per attempt).

The Patriots fall to 1-1 with the loss. They'll return to Foxboro for a Sunday afternoon game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3.

Here are three instant takeaways from Patriots vs. Seahawks.

1. Patriots' pass defense had ROUGH night

The strength of the Patriots is their pass defense, but it certainly didn't look like one against the Seahawks. Aside from a tipped-ball interception that Devin McCourty ran back for a touchdown to open the scoring in the first quarter, the New England secondary was consistently carved up by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Wilson completed 21 of 28 pass attempts for 288 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. Even Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, had a rare poor performance.

Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf tallied four receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown when covered by Gilmore. A 54-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Metcalf in the second quarter was the longest play of the game.

The Patriots allowed four touchdowns to wide receivers all of last season. They gave up four scores to Seahawks wide receivers Sunday night (running back Chris Carson had the other receiving TD).

 

In fairness to the Patriots, Wilson makes a lot of top-tier defenses look bad. He's completing 82 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and one interception through the first two games of the season. But the Patriots are going to face a lot more of the league's top quarterbacks in 2020, including Patrick Mahomes, Jimmy Garoppolo, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson and others.

Surprising stats from Week 2 thriller

The Patriots' pass defense must play better against these upper-echelon QBs to have a successful season.

2. Seahawks slowed down Patriots' rushing attack

The Patriots ran all over the Dolphins last week with 217 yards (5.2 per carry) and two touchdowns on the ground. Cam Newton led the way with 75 rushing yards and two touchdowns. New England's rushing attack couldn't generate the same success versus the Seattle defense.

Newton was mostly successful on the ground with 47 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, although he was unable to score from 1-yard out on the game's final play. 

The Patriots tallied only 67 rushing yards (2.7 per carry) in total, and their running backs averaged 1.4 yards per carry as a group.

The Patriots don't have enough weapons at the wide receiver and tight end positions, and there's no reliable deep threat, either. Success in the run game will make life easier for the passing attack and create more manageable second and third down scenarios, and the Patriots just weren't able to gain consistent yardage on the ground against the Seahawks.

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3. Julian Edelman played great

Edelman was the Patriots' best player against the Seahawks. He tallied eight receptions for a career-high 179 yards, including a 49-yard catch in the third quarter.

Edelman nearly found the end zone late in the fourth quarter but was tackled right at the goal line on a 33-yard reception.

The veteran wideout now has 13 receptions for 236 yards on 17 targets through two games.