Thursday Night Observations

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

So what if the Patriots defense was terrible through four games? That doesn’t mean Week 5 will play out the same way. I’m not arguing the Pats have fixed anything permanently – only that whatever information you have heading into the game often quickly becomes irrelevant once the game starts.

• When Rob Gronkowski was scratched in my high-stakes, 2-TE Stopa league, I plugged in O.J. Howard, fresh off a four-target, 1-TD game. Howard, like Gronk’s more popular replacement Dwayne Allen, did not record a single catch, and the two had only one target between them.

 Tom Brady spread the ball around between four receivers and didn’t take a deep shot. Brandin Cooks was the only one getting even semi-deep looks, and of course Chris Hogan – especially with Gronk out – was the red-zone target. Danny Amendola and James White are PPR-0nly types. Brady got to 300 yards again, but it wasn’t especially efficient (7.6 YPA, three sacks, one pick, one fumble.)

• It looks like Mike Gillislee and Dion Lewis are the runners, while James White is the pass catcher among the backs. If and when Rex Burkhead comes back, we’ll see if that changes at all.

• Jameis Winston somehow got to 334 yards, but I’d have pegged him at 100 less just from watching the game. DeSean Jackson’s 41-yard catch-and-run helped.

• Mike Evans made a few catches early, then disappeared. The Patriots often take away a team’s best player.

• Jackson had 106 yards on nine targets, but appeared to get hurt on the team’s final drive. It’s incredibly courteous of a player to suffer an injury *after* he’s done his work as opposed to in the first quarter where it crushes you.

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• Doug Martin ran well in his season debut, breaking tackles and clawing for extra yardage. He also scored a touchdown and is clearly the team’s feature back (only three carries for two yards for Jacquizz Rodgers.)

• It’s odd the Bucs drafted Howard in the first round because they seem to love Cameron Brate as a receiver and red-zone target. Howard also drew two holding penalties on a single drive.

• Nick Folk killed the Bucs – he missed two makable field goals that could very well have been the difference in the game as well as a 56-yarder at the end of the first half. After a bad game in Week 4 too, he’s almost certainly cut. Maybe they’ll shack up with the newly available Younghoe.

• At least the Bucs covered the 5.5-point spread.