NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints’ defense made Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford look like Tom Brady in Week 1. So, the real Tom Brady was going to have to significantly outplay that performance by Bradford to prove the New England Patriots’ offense is back on track.
Challenge accepted, conquered, obliterated.
Brady completed 19 of 25 passes for 302 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. And that was only in the first half.
Brady threw for the third-most passing yards of his career, going 30 of 39 for 447 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. That was without wide receiver Danny Amendola, who was inactive. It also was without tight end Rob Gronkowski for the fourth quarter after he injured his groin. Wide receiver Chris Hogan (knee) and Phillip Dorsett (knee) also got banged up. Running back Rex Burkhead (ribs) didn’t play after the first quarter, but the Patriots’ offense kept on churning.
The Patriots, as a team, put up 555 yards and 7.7 per play. The Vikings gained 470 total yards and 7.5 per play in Week 1. So, yes, the Patriots’ offense did look legit, and they’ll be even better when Amendola returns and if Hogan, Gronkowski and Dorsett all recover quickly from their injuries. Every player who suffered an injury eventually returned to the sideline, indicating the ailments aren’t serious.
“Our offense, if we’re able to go out there and play fast and use our tempo and get guys the ball and move the ball down the field, we do well,” Hogan said. “Obviously drive-starters were a big key for us and getting the ball down the field. I thought everyone played really well on offense today.”
But still, it was against the Saints’ defense, which might be the worst in the NFL. We warned you not to panic after Week 1, and the Patriots did a nice job of easing concerns by doing exactly what they were supposed to against the Saints.
But let’s wait at least another week before we decide the Patriots’ offense is as good as everyone expected they would be coming into the season. The Patriots take on the Houston Texans next, and while no one is exactly going to rave about Houston’s offense, their defense was one of the best in the NFL last season, and they’re allowing 15.5 points and 287.5 yards per game this season.
If Brady and his cast of wounded weapons can cruise down the field against the Texans, then there’s reason to hype up this offense again. But dominating the Saints’ defense is like exiting the menu screen on Madden while your little brother is out of the room and picking “punt return left” as a defensive play on his controller.
Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Images
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