Patriots 19, Buccaneers 14: It’s okay to win games ugly sometimes

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Chris Hogan
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Chris Hogan /

Led by the defense, the New England Patriots held on to edge the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-14 Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium.

Even the good teams win ugly, especially on Thursday Night Football. Without Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots got a much needed victory against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite a heavy dose of yellow flags and three missed field goals by Tampa Bay kicker Nick Folk, the 19-14 victory over the Buccaneers was the type of win Tom Brady got earlier in his career.

The ageless wonder made just enough plays to win, while his defense held the other team to less points than the offense scored.  While Brady and his four weapons (James White, Danny Amendola, Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan) left many plays on the field, sometimes these are the types of games that defines a team.  It was certainly the kind of performance the defense needed.

"“They played a great game, they really kept us in it all night,” Brady said following the game, via  “I wish we could’ve scored more points, offensively, but defense really held their own.  You know, we battled, just couldn’t get enough done to ultimately get the ball in the end zone but I’m glad we won.”"

Bumps and bruises

Despite the low scoring effort, Tom Brady threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown. However, the hits kept coming as the 40-year-old quarterback was sacked three times and was thrown to the ground countless times.

While the offensive line has to take most of the blame, there are also times Brady stands in the pocket a bit longer to make plays down the field.  Going forward, the Patriots will have to work on ways to limit the amount of hits Brady is taking.

Quite frankly, there is no amount of magic water or avocado ice cream that will prevent TB12 from taking that one hit that takes him out of a game, or the season.

Defense better

The Patriots defense did give up some big plays on the ground.  Buccaneers running back Kevin Martin did break off a couple of big runs, but overall the team made plays when they needed to.  Most importantly, a lot of those plays came on third down.

TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 5: Quarterback Jameis Winston
TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 5: Quarterback Jameis Winston /

There were a few defensive penalties that kept drives going and nearly led to the team shooting themselves in the foot once again.  One of those situations came on the Buccaneers final drive of the first half.  With time running out, the Patriots committed back-to-back roughing the passer penalties that gave Tampa Bay a chance to attempt a field goal.  Luckily, Folk missed the long attempt.

Despite dodging that bullet, you better believe Bill Belichick is going on be on his team for the dumb, undisciplined penalties they have committed the last couple weeks.

Players trending up

Chris Hogan, Stephen Gostkowski, James White, Dion Lewis, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Danny Amendola are all players trending up after the Week 5 victory.

More from Chowder and Champions

Without Rob Gronkowski, Amendola was the star on defense.  The veteran wide receiver was obviously Tom Brady’s go to guy in key situations.  With 8 receptions for 77 yards, Amendola made the type of chain moving plays that his good pal Julian Edelman made.

Although his best catch of the night was called back due to one of those offensive pass inference calls, Amendola stepped up in a big way.  He also had a big punt return that set up a Gostkowski field goal before the half.

Overall assessment 

This team still has some work to do, including some internal issues.  Alan Branch didn’t make the trip to Tampa, which makes one wonder if his time in a Patriots’ uniform is coming to an end.

All in all, the defending Super Bowl champions did enough to win in a short week.  They were able to run the ball a bit behind Dion Lewis and Mike Gillislee.  If they can find a way to establish the ground and pound game, Brady will have an easier time getting the ball to his playmakers when they need it.

Next: New England Patriots: Have other coaches finally caught up to Belichick?

Defensively, they have to keep communicating and getting better.  They have the talent to be much better than they have been.  I think once we hit the middle of the season, this team will have their act together and will once again be a force in the NFL.