In the fourth quarter of Sunday's game, as the Patriots were driving for a tying touchdown, Tom Brady launched the football deep into Buffalo's territory, aiming for a wide-open Chad Ochocinco near the end zone.
As every Patriots fan has seen replayed several times, Ochocinco dropped the ball. Earlier in the game, Ochocinco ran a route wrong, allowing Buffalo's Leodis McKelvin to cut in front and intercept Brady.
Things probably won't get better from here for Ochocinco and Brady, regardless of what Brady says.
At one point, it was possible to argue that all the pair needed was time to jell, especially since Ochocinco is in a new system with a new playbook, and the two lost valuable time together thanks to the NFL lockout.
Contrary to the age-old cliche, time doesn't heal all wounds, and it won't heal the gashes between Ochocinco and Brady.
Every receiver with whom Brady has clicked enjoyed a strong relationship with the quarterback almost from the very start. Brady was that way with Wes Welker and Deion Branch, to name a couple. It was the same way with Randy Moss, who caught nine passes for 183 yards and a touchdown in his first regular season game with the Patriots.
Things went a little differently with Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney. Rember them? It wouldn't be a surprise if you didn't. In three seasons with the Patriots, Gaffney recorded just over 1,000 yards, averaging 24 yards per game. Caldwell only lasted one year, averaging 47.5 yards per game, and never gained Brady's full trust.
For a little number-crunching comparison, Welker averages 78 yards per game. Welker and Brady jelled the second Welker made it to New England, as he made 112 catches for 1,175 yards in his first season with the Patriots.
And there's a certain amount of trust that a quarterback needs to have with his receivers, especially if the quarterback is going to be launching footballs deep into enemy territory. Brady is one of those quarterbacks, and the only thing Ochocinco is snatching is every oppurtunity Brady has to trust him.
One can't blame Brady if he doesn't want to throw to Ochocinco again after the receiver caused an interception and dropped a sure touchdown pass. Brady looked pretty annoyed on the sidelines after the route mishap as well as the drop.
In some other NFL systems, Brady might have no choice but to throw to Ochocinco. But Brady doesn't actually need to target Ochocinco or to try to make the relationship work. He has plenty of other appealing options. He loves tossing the ball to Welker, Branch, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez.
Combine that with the fact that Brady probably trusts Ochocinco less after the reciever's performance against Buffalo, and it doesn't seem like the Patriots should hold on the Ochocinco. If he's not on the same page as Brady right now, chances are their relationship won't grow over the course of the season.
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