The thing that startled me was New England’s timing on offense. I don’t know how they got that crisp with Brissett at QB in three days of walk throughs.
Especially tight were Brissett’s exchanges in the backfield with Edelman, which easily could have blown up. There was no room for error on those.
On the other hand, I was surprised that McDaniels put those Edelman run plays in and went to them more than once. They exposed the Patriots’ emergency QB to more physical contact and a higher risk of injury than he typically faces in his receiving role. They also kept running Blount late in the game when they could have put in Develin and given him some touches to reward him for his beast blocking earlier in the game.
Overall, the Patriots have gotten their rostering and coaching approach down to a science. They prepare the entire depth chart well at every position. The Texans looked thin in their defensive front seven. The Patriots looked like Alabama — even without Hightower, it seemed as though they had 10-12 starters that they could shuttle in and out of their front seven at will without any dropoff in scheme or execution.
Belichick hasn’t always had a staff as good as the one he has now. This level of excellence will likely continue for as long as he can hold that staff together.
Now, who overinflated those league administered K balls? The Patriots were very fortunate. They dropped two kick returns and recovered them both. The Texans dropped two and lost ’em both. The Pats’ level of luck in that game changing department exceeded the “residue of design” benchmark. But who doesn’t need a little extra luck now and then when faced with the likes of Goodell?