By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Some ups and downs from the Patriots’ first loss of the season…
— WR Mohamed Sanu. In just his second week with the Patriots, Sanu put together a monster game with 10 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. He already has plenty of trust with Tom Brady and he looks like he’s picked up the offense fairly quickly. If Edelman doesn’t fumble that ball, perhaps the Patriots’ momentum isn’t stopped and Sanu is instead the game MVP.
— RB James White. White actually did most of his damage on the ground in this one, rushing nine times for 38 yards and touchdown. He also made two catches for 46 yards. A silver lining in the loss is that the offense found a way to move the ball consistently after a slow start. If they can protect the ball better, perhaps the arrow is finally pointing firmly up.
— ST Justin Bethel. Bethel’s pressure on Cyrus Jones helped him recover an early muffed punt that led to three points for the Patriots. He’s been an expectedly excellent addition to the Pats’ coverage units so far.
— LT Marshall Newhouse. The pass protection wasn’t great across the board, but Newhouse continues to be a major issue on Tom Brady’s blind side. Can’t have your quarterback feeling uncomfortable about what’s going on behind him. Newhouse allowed at least one sack on the evening by himself, and that doesn’t figure to change moving forward.
— WR Julian Edelman. Though it’s not entirely his fault – some blame is due to Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady for the play-call – but Edelman coughed up the football at one of the worst possible times for the Patriots. They were driving down just four points with a chance to take their first lead, but a gassed Edelman wasn’t able to protect the football after fighting for extra yardage. Edelman did make 10 catches for 89 yards, but sometimes one big mistake can undo a lot of good.
— DT Danny Shelton. Ravens right guard Marshal Yanda completely turned Shelton aside on a big 53-yard run by Mark Ingram that set up the Ravens’ second touchdown of the game. Shelton hasn’t been as stout up the middle of the Patriots’ run defense in the past two weeks as he was to start the season. He needs to be better and the Patriots’ defensive line needs to tighten up at the point of attack after two bad games in a row against the run.
— LB Shilique Calhoun. You can put pretty much every bad penalty under Calhoun’s umbrella. But his neutral zone infraction on the Ravens’ opening drive turned what would’ve been a field goal into a touchdown, setting a poor tone for the night. Calhoun’s penalty turned out to be emblematic of the Patriots’ relatively sloppiness.
More ups and downs coming in two weeks, since the Patriots are off Week 10 for their bye week. They’ll return in Week 11 with a road date at the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.