The New England Patriots had a chance to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their Sunday Night Football clash.
Unfortunately, Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal try hit the left upright before going out.
During that drive, the Patriots called zero run plays because they were in a two-minute offense.
They had to gain yards quickly to give Folk an easier kick.
Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal attempt is NO GOOD!
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 4, 2021
But the lack of run plays for New England was evident during their two touchdown drives.
They called four run plays on that drive which yielded two total yards.
The Patriots added two more run plays until the game ended in Tampa Bay’s favor, 19-17.
On one of those runs, Harris stalled one yard behind the line of scrimmage and got injured.
He did return in the second half and had another one-yard run early in the third quarter.
In total, the Patriots had eight carries for a negative yard.
Jokingly, anyone who hasn’t played in the NFL had more rushing yards than New England on that day.
But kidding aside, calling so few run plays is uncharacteristic of a team that mixes up their offense.
In Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins, New England had 30 carries for 125 yards.
They had two touchdowns on 24 rushing attempts versus the New York Jets.
A week after, the Patriots had 17 tries against the New Orleans Saints.
Eight carries all game is uncharacteristic of the Patriots, and they could have had success if they tried more.
But head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels might have been playing the odds against the Buccaneers.
Live And Die With The Pass
Conventional wisdom dictates that NFL teams establish the run game during games of unfavorable weather.
Rain fell throughout practically the entire game, giving New England the perfect opportunity to call more run plays.
The Patriots didn’t risk it against those men, even if they do have an offensive line that can create gaps for Harris and Bolden.
— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2021
After all, the Buccaneers have the best run defense in football, giving up 47.5 yards per game.
Where Tampa Bay struggles, however, is preventing gains via the pass.
Then, Carlton Davis III went down during the matchup and might be questionable for Week 5.
The scarcity of defensive backs prompted the Buccaneers to sign Richard Sherman to a one-year deal.
We've signed CB Richard Sherman.#GoBucs
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 29, 2021
Belichick always attacks his opponents at their weak spots, which could be the reason for practically abandoning the run.
Throwing against a defense that gives up a league-worst 327.5 yards per game was their best chance to win.
As a result, Jones had a solid game with 31 completions for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
But when it mattered, the Buccaneers prevented the Patriots from advancing because the offense became too predictable.
Before Folk’s missed field goal, Jones attempted an incomplete pass on third-and-three to Jakobi Meyers.
While it isn’t automatic, you’d bet on a run play to cover three yards, especially when the defense expects a pass.
That outcome could have given them a first down and more opportunities to bring the ball closer.
Instead, the Patriots’ winning hopes ended with a resounding doink.