FOXBORO, Mass. — Poor Ryan Allen. The punter was the only member of the New England Patriots who didn’t have a chance to “do his job” Sunday.
The Patriots’ offense was so good in their 51-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, they didn’t need to punt. They scored on every drive until the last series of the game, when backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo entered the field and took a knee.
“Man, I don’t even think we punted today,” special-teams ace Matthew Slater said. “I didn’t get a chance to cover a punt. You never are surprised with the personnel that we have, and the way that we work, and the way that we’re coached, but obviously you never expect to go out there and put up those points.”
The Patriots gained 471 total yards and didn’t turn over the ball. Quarterback Tom Brady completed 78.6 percent of his passes, and Rob Gronkowski went over 100 yards again, despite catching just four passes.
Yet everyone on the Patriots is convinced they can do even better.
“It can get better,” wide receiver Julian Edelman, who caught eight passes for 85 yards, said with a straight face after the game. “There’s time we didn’t score (touchdowns) and we kicked field goals, and there’s time we didn’t convert third downs. There’s stuff to work on, and we’ve got to go out there and continually try to improve.”
There certainly didn’t look like there was anything to work on, but perhaps the Patriots won’t stop trying to improve until they actually submit a perfect game.
“This is a pretty good offense,” said running back LeGarrette Blount, who scored three touchdowns. “We are pretty good. We have the potential to be a lot better. We’ve got a lot of stuff to work on. We haven’t been perfect. …
“There might be some holes that we might have missed as running backs, there might have been a throw Tom probably missed as a quarterback, even though he never really misses those. We didn’t play a perfect game. There are some things we have to tweak here and there to where we can get rolling on all cylinders and keep rolling so we don’t get slowed down at all.
“There’s a lot of things that we could have done. There was a couple times when we kicked three when we could have had seven. We didn’t play the perfect game.”
The scary part is they’re right. The Patriots will be even better when starting wide receiver Brandon LaFell comes off the PUP list and starting offensive linemen Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell return. Newcomers Keshawn Martin, Scott Chandler and Dion Lewis can improve as they get more and more comfortable in the offense, and rookie offensive linemen David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Tre’ Jackson still can make strides as they get adjusted to the NFL.
The Patriots lost key pieces from their Super Bowl XLIX offense, but this year’s squad looks even better than the 2014 version early in the season. The key now is to keep it up and stay healthy.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images