3 Up, 3 Down: Studs and Duds from Week 15

3 Up, 3 Down: Studs and Duds from Week 15

by December 16, 2018 0 comments

Did anybody else get sick of hearing about the Miami Miracle all week? Well, for Patriots fans, at least there was a healthy balance of Jesse James’ catch/no-catch fiasco last year being incorporated into this broadcast to remind you of better, simpler times.

This marquee-matchup had a much different feel than the typical Patriots vs. Steelers game at the end of the season. New England entered Heinz Field for the Week 15 matchup with a 3-4 record on the road, and on the heels of a heartbreaking loss in Miami. On the other side, the Steelers came in at just 7-5-1, and three straight losses. The latest defeat came at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, who entered Week 14 at 2-10.

This game, for all intents and purposes, was an annual battle for the number-one seed in the AFC—but this year, it was to see who could get back on track in time to hopefully land the number-two seed. Two marquee offenses, carrying rather adequate defenses to playoff spots was just what the doctor ordered for the ultimate bowl of irony that was this game.

The final? 17-10 Steelers. It was a mess, with not a lot of positives. But who were the three Patriots that stood out from a positive standpoint?

No matter what your impression was for the two interceptions, Duron Harmon still shined in what was a deceivingly-bad showing from the New England Patriots. Harmon picked off an errant throw by Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter, and then off a deflected pass by Stephon Gilmore in the second half. Other than that, Harmon’s name wasn’t really brought up at all. But, again, there weren’t many positives, and Harmon was one of them.

The second “positive” on Sunday afternoon was Chris Hogan. Despite only having two receptions on the afternoon, one of them went for a 64-yard touchdown early in the first quarter. In fact, it was the only touchdown on the day for the Patriots offense.

The third and final stud on the night was J.C. Jackson. Jackson’s heroic play on third down at the end of the game gave the Patriots a chance to drive down the field, needing a touchdown to tie the game. But, evidently, it was all for not.

Limited to just three, expect to see a couple of groups lumped into these three duds this week for the New England Patriots, who looked absolutely pathetic.

The first dud on the afternoon was the Patriots defensive line, who got absolutely torched on the line of scrimmage from the first snap of the game. Jaylen Samuels alone ran for 142 yards on just 19 carries—good for 7.5 yards per carry—and other than a sack from Kyle Van Noy, nobody in the front seven really did a thing to disrupt the rhythm that Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense was in.

The second dud goes to Josh McDaniels. I continue to pray that some team takes this overpaid OC off the hands of the Patriots. His play-calling, which is far more evident in the defeats, has been horrid. Second and long? No worries! Let’s run it up the gut with Rex Burkhead. Also, where on earth is James White? You cannot honestly tell me with a straight face that Rex Burkhead is better than James White, who continues to be utilized less and less in the offense.

Lastly, Jason McCourty, who allowed five receptions for over 90 yards and a touchdown. While not all of that is on McCourty, it’s still worth noting that he definitely didn’t show up when the Patriots desperately needed someone to step up.

Honorable mentions for duds: Bill Belichick, Josh Gordon, Tom Brady, and Rob Gronkowski

The Patriots are now 9-5 on the season and one yard away on a Bears Hail Mary from being 8-6. It’s pathetic, and not something you expect to see from a Belichick and Brady-led Patriots team. They’re lucky they get to end the season with the Jets and the Bills because otherwise, I’d really start to question their playoff-status.

 

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