Let me start with a paragraph overreacting to the shouting match witnessed between Tom Brady and Bill O'Brien. This paragraph will sensationalize the heated discussion between the Patriots' QB and offensive coordinator. This paragraph will not mention that Brady and O'Brien were moments later seen calmly discussing things on the sideline, sitting next to each other. This paragraph will make implicating observations and comments about the chemistry in the Pats' locker room, and will end with an inflammatory question: Who really calls the offensive shots in Foxborough? Brady or O'Brien?
All they were really saying was "rabble, rabble, rabble, rabble."
Now with that over with, let's discuss this game. I think all except the most foolish of fans out there realize that the Patriots defense is a joke. Slater and Edelman are getting significant playing time. There are occasional turnovers forced, but there are also big plays allowed going the other way. This defense makes bad QBs look decent, decent QBs look good, good QBs look great, and great QBs look godlike. This defense has the same effect on quarterbacks as alcohol has on women at a bar, it makes them look much better than they actually are.
Devin McCourty is awful. He would have had a pick if not for a roughing penalty, but he has looked vulnerable all season long. It's not just a sophomore slump, it's a sophomore collapse. He gets torched, he struggles to cover, and he commits penalties to compensate for his failures. Fans shouldn't be allowed to wear McCourty jerseys to games, because opposing QBs will throw footballs in their direction again and again. And that could prove dangerous to spectators.
This team wins and loses based ENTIRELY on how well its offense performs. Brady had a slow start again (8/19 in the first half), and the half ended 20-20. Then Brady played a great 3rd and the Pats took a lead. The offense could have put it away, but Brady threw that argument inciting interception. And of course, the defense almost blew the lead.
When Brady and the offense are perfect, this team cannot lose. When he's great, this team is very difficult to beat. When he's just okay or a bit off for a few series, this team kind of sucks.
Gronkowski is the second most important player on this team. He's hauled in close to half of Brady's TD catches. He is the new NFL record holder for TDs caught by a tight-end. He also passed the 1,000 yard mark in this game.
Is this team going to go deep into the playoffs? That depends completely on the offense, because the defense is going to get ripped apart.
The Pats need to play much better as they're on the road against a hot team that's leading its division. Pats @ Tebow next Sunday evening.