Tom Brady had a rare off game last Sunday in a divisional tilt against the New York Jets. He and the passing game just never got going in a tough overtime loss not lacking controversy.
One positive was his instant rapport with Rob Gronkowski coming back from injury. Gronk had over 100 yards receiving in his first game back and looks like he never left. Brady and the New England Patriots now have to forget about that loss quickly.
Another divisional match up is looming with the Miami Dolphins, and all of a sudden the AFC East has become a close race. The Jets are hot on the Pats’ tail at a game back and the Dolphins are only a game and a half back. The time for Brady and company to create some separation is now.
The Jets have a tough second half schedule and the Pats, well, don’t. They also have quite a few divisional games to separate themselves from the pack, and Brady and the Pats rarely have back to back bad games.
In fact, I can’t recall the last time they lost two games in a row. Brady also loves to play the Dolphins. He owns them. They feature a middle of the pack secondary at best, and with the return of Gronkowski matched up against the Dolphins’ average linebackers it should be a one-on-one match up Brady exploits all day.
The Pats have had to deal with much early season adversity. Injuries to key defensive players for the season such as Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork, their two stalwarts on that side of the ball, have made things difficult. Injuries have piled up on offense too.
This may be Brady and Belichick’s best quarterback/coaching job in a long time. They are getting it done on both sides of the ball with reserves and backups they didn’t count on playing major snaps. The players change, but as long as Brady and Belichick are still there the Pats will continue winning that division.