This has happened before. People overreact to a New England loss and say, “Brady is washed up! He’s done!”. Then Tom Brady and the Patriots go on to roll through their opponents, making all of the doubters look like fools. However, this time feels a little different after their 17-10 loss against the Steelers. The Patriots never looked this out of sync and flat in the month of December.
The most alarming play of the night came in the 4th quarter as Brady heaved a pass down the right sideline and was intercepted by Joe Haden. Brady hasn’t thrown a red zone pick in two years. He said after the game that he was trying to throw the ball away and just didn’t get enough on it.
It wasn’t necessarily a sloppy game for Brady. He was 25 for 36 with 279 yards and 1 touchdown. The defense which has been suspect all season held the Steelers to 17 points which should’ve been enough to win this game.
Also, credit needs to be given to the Steelers. They ended a 3-game skid and played with an incredible edge. Their defense came up big and especially in the crucial moments where they haven’t been so successful lately.
The Patriots lacked rhythm and urgency on offense. Julian Edelman led the receivers with 7 catches for 90 yards and nobody else could get it going. Hogan had 68 yards but 63 of those yards came on one play, which resulted in a touchdown. He only had one other catch. Rob Gronkowski and Josh Gordon were both non-factors. If the Patriots are going to make it to the Super Bowl, they need production from those two guys. Tom Brady is still a good quarterback but at this point in his career, he is not capable of putting the team on his back as he has done in the past.
The running game helped the offense out for most of the year and now we see what happens when they struggle in that area. Sony Michel led the committee with 59 yards on 13 carries while Rex Burkhead and James White combined for 37 yards on 6 carries.
Penalties were also killer throughout the night. They had a season-high 14 penalties for 106 yards.
This is normally the time of year the Patriots lock in and become favorites to come out of the AFC. After the fluky loss to the Dolphins last week and now this loss, they suddenly have very little momentum and now sit as the #3 seed in the AFC. If anyone can turn that around, it’s the Patriots so I wouldn’t count them out just yet but there is definitely a cause for concern.
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