NEW ORLEANS — The New England Patriots didn’t look like the same team that got walloped in Week 1 on Sunday in their 36-20 win over the New Orleans Saints.
The Patriots’ offense was high-powered, picking up 555 yards against a Saints defense that can best be described as a trash heap, garbage fire or, if we’re being polite, rubbish.
The Patriots’ defense was far from perfect, letting up 429 yards themselves, but it was a dramatic improvement for the unit that let up 42 points and over 500 yards of total offense to the Chiefs.
Here’s who specifically stood out for the Patriots in their win.
QB TOM BRADY
Brady put any concerns that his skillset dramatically declined the day he turned 40 years old to rest by completing 30 of 39 passes for 447 yards with three touchdowns.
Brady completed just 44 percent of his attempts in Week 1, so some concern about the Patriots’ offense was justified.
WR CHRIS HOGAN
Hogan efforted through what appeared to be a right knee injury, catching five passes on six targets for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Hogan still doesn’t appear to be replicating the role previously held by Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, but he was impactful against a porous Saints defense.
RB JAMES WHITE
White did most of his work out of the backfield but led the team by catching eight passes on eight targets for 85 yards.
White also isn’t Edelman or Amendola, but he served as Brady’s security blanket.
TE ROB GRONKOWSKI
Gronkowski looked like himself again before leaving the game late in the third quarter with a groin injury. It seems he avoided a major injury by staying on the sideline.
He caught six passes on nine targets for 116 yards with a 53-yard touchdown grab.
DE DEATRICH WISE
Wise has been just as impressive early in the season as he was over the summer before suffering a concussion.
Wise had the Patriots’ lone sack and recorded four total quarterback hits against Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Wise and fellow defensive end Trey Flowers, both of whom are Arkansas products, have been a formidable pass-rush duo so far.
CB JONATHAN JONES
In a game in which Patriots cornerbacks Malcolm Butler, Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe were either benched, let up big plays, struggled or suffered injuries, Jones shined with pass breakups on his first two targets. He allowed one catch on three targets for 25 yards.
He only played as much as he did because Rowe left the game with groin injury.
Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images
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