Despite their defense still really not being that impressive, the New England Patriots managed to come out of Thursday Night Football this week against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers with their third win of the season.
The Patriots moved to a 3-2 record on the season after their 19-14 victory over the Buccaneers last night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay. Their abysmal defense was let off the hook thanks to Bucs kicker Nick Folk missing three key field goals during the game.
New England passing offense managed to perform well as well despite the fact they didn't have either Julian Edelman or Rob Gronkowski on the field. Edelman has been ruled out for the entire season with a torn ACL, but the tight end was ruled out hours before the game with a thigh injury.
Gronkowski should be well enough to play for the Patriots in their Week 6 game against their AFC East divisional rivals the New York Jets, but if the history of their record without their All-Pro tight end on the field is anything to go by, they shouldn't be too concerned if he is unable to play.
Prior to last night's game taking place, according to NFL Research, the Patriots were 11-0 without the 28-year-old in their lineup since the start of 2016. Also, they have also averaged more points, total yards, passing yards and rushing yards without Gronkowski, and have a higher third-down and red-zone touchdown conversion rates without him on the field.
After their win last night, that record has now moved to 12-0. It worth noting that New England did have Edelman for those other 11 games as well, whereas last night they didn't, so this week's win could even be viewed as an even greater achievement, especially when you throw in their weak defense performances too.
As mentioned earlier though, the Patriots got lucky in this game due to Buccanneers kicker Nick Folk missing three key field goals, so maybe this record shouldn't be looked into too deeply as a formula for New England to retain their Super Bowl title this season. It's an interesting fact nevertheless.