The New England Patriots helmed by a pristine performance by Stephon Gilmore, broke the slump defeating the hapless Cincinnati Bengals 34-13.
It was not pretty to start, but the Patriots of old resurfaced. Here are the winners and losers of today’s game.
Winner: James White
It was time to get James White more involved and the team finally got the memo.
On the team’s first offensive drive, Brady completed numerous passes to his running back including a screen pass for a score.
He is incredibly important to their offensive production going forward.
Loser: Run Defense
The run defense was horrendous through one and a half quarters allowing Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard to run all over it.
One run that sticks out, was Mixon breaking five tackles to make it across midfield on an over 30-yard run.
It helped the Bengal’s play action game with a touchdown to a tight end who did not have a catch in his career up to that point.
It was followed however with a huge stop by Elandon Roberts for Mixon’s shortest run of the day.
Winner: N’Keal Harry
The rookie out of Arizona State showed off his versatility and great hands.
His first big play was an end-around for a first down exhibiting great speed for a man his size.
While it was waived off, Harry showed great hands on a vertical route leaping out and using his body to make a catch.
His clear highlight was his second touchdown catch of the season to put the Patriots ahead by 10 points.
He is getting better but there is still room for more improvement.
Loser: Marcus Cannon
The TCU alum has been horrid nearly the entire season and today was no exception.
The Bengals stacked the right side and had their way. The team kept Brady uncomfortable sacking him twice and leading to wild and premature throws from the six-time Super Bowl champion.
As bad as Marshall Newhouse played to start the season, Cannon has been even worse and it does not look like it is turning around any time soon.
Winner: Nick Folk
In cold temperatures, it is always hard to kick field goals especially without an appendix and Folk was perfect.
His two field goals in the first half included his longest of the season at 46-yards out which put the Patriots in the lead for the second time in the game.
Winner: Stephon Gilmore
If there has been one constant in this up and down season for the Patriots, it has been Stephon Gilmore.
Gilmore not only tied his season-high with five interceptions, but is also tied for the league-lead in that category with teammate Devin McCourty, Minkah Fitzpatrick and others.
It did not take the former Buffalo Bill long to break the tie at the top. Gilmore jumped right in front of Tyler Boyd for yet another interception returned for a touchdown.
He is the best player on the Patriots right now in terms of consistency and play and it is not even close.
Push: Tom Brady
It was a mixed bag for the six-time Super Bowl champion throwing a touchdown pass and disappearing for the better part of two quarters.
With rare help from the offensive line, Brady with plenty of time made a connection with Harry for his second touchdown of the game.
After three straight mediocre weeks, he had more of a Brady-esque performance today.
At the same time, there were quite a few wild throws coming out of his hand. That needs to be cleaned up come next week in the pivotal AFC East matchup.
Brady is one touchdown away from tying Peyton Manning for the all-time career record.
Winner: J.C. Jackson
The Maryland alum has supplanted Jason McCourty as the team’s second cornerback on defense and has not disappointed.
Recording his fourth interception this year, that makes it a career-high in one season.
His day and season got even better with interception No.5 tying him with Devin McCourty.
His fundamentals and coverage abilities without putting hands on receivers are improving. At 24, there are still things he can do better but things have showed up more often than not great on film.