TAMPA, Fla. — “Thursday Night Football” critics might be on to something. The New England Patriots’ 19-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was ugly. And we’re not just talking about the Patriots’ all-white color rush uniforms (ba dum tss).
There were errant throws and idiotic penalties on both teams as the Patriots came out of Week 5 with a winning record (3-2). The Patriots were flagged 12 times for 108 yards, while the Buccaneers were penalized seven times for 60 yards. The Patriots’ defense eventually closed the game, but they let the Buccaneers come much too close for comfort to a comeback.
Here’s who stood out positively on the Patriots’ side.
WR CHRIS HOGAN
Hogan has turned into a touchdown machine for the Patriots. He has five touchdowns through five games and has emerged as Brady’s most targeted receiver.
Brady was having a hard time hitting Hogan accurately early in the game, and the receiver actually bailed Brady out on at least one off-target throw. They hit their stride midway through the first half, and Hogan caught eight passes on 11 targets for 74 yards with a touchdown.
RB DION LEWIS
Lewis started to show some of the burst and quickness he displayed in 2015. He led the Patriots in rushing with seven carries for 53 yards. He also caught two passes for 10 yards.
WR DANNY AMENDOLA
Amendola was his usual dependable self, catching seven passes on eight targets for 77 yards. He’s catching over 80 percent of passes thrown his way.
Amendola also added a 40-yard punt return. He had three total returns for 51 yards.
FS DEVIN MCCOURTY
There are few sure things on the Patriots’ defense. McCourty’s tackling is one of them.
McCourty led the team with 10 tackles and allowed just two catches on five targets for 5 yards and a pass breakup.
CB STEPHON GILMORE
We criticized Gilmore heavily last week for some perceived communication issues on the Patriots’ defense. He was much better in Week 5 as he mostly was allowed to shadow wide receiver Mike Evans.
The Patriots’ secondary had a solid game in general until Jameis Winston came on strong in the second half.
K NICK FOLK
Sorry, had to do it. The Buccaneers kicker was 0-for-3 on field goals and missed his final one of the night when the Patriots were leading 16-7. It could have been a much different game if Folk was replaced by an average or above-average kicker.
It’s worth noting Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was perfect on four field goals and one extra point Thursday night.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images