If the New England Patriots’ offense turns things around and wins the Super Bowl because of it, this Monday morning segment from “Get Up” might have a prominent spot on the championship TV special.
The Patriots on Sunday improved to 9-1 with an unsightly win over the Philadelphia Eagles. New England gained just 298 yards of total offense and only scored 17 points, its second-lowest totals in each category this season. A win’s a win, sure, but as far as style points go, this one had little if any.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady posted his second-lowest passer rating of the season, completing just 55.3 percent of his passes in between ducking and covering for his life with a leaky offensive line struggling to keep his white road jersey clean. Brady was understandably peeved about the game, but his annoyance meshed with downright depression during a moody postgame press conference.
On Monday morning, ESPN’s panel of experts on “Get Up” took their turns shredding New England’s offense.
Former Jets and Bills head coach (and Patriots villain) Rex Ryan wondered if New England has enough overall talent on the offensive side of the ball.
“Where’s the speed?” he wondered. “That left tackle (Marshall Newhouse), is that me blocking? They need to get Isaiah Wynn back in a hurry. If they don’t, they’re in trouble, and he knows it. Why’d they bring in Antonio Brown with a laundry list of things? Why? Because they needed a weapon. Why did they draft a guy in the first round? This team is short of talent, and he knows it. Normally, he’s the guy who carries this team, but right now, they’re being carried by that defense.”
Ex-NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky was even more to the point.
“That whole game was difficult to watch yesterday because of the lack of speed on the outside,” Orlovsky said. “The Patriots’ offense, the best way to describe it, is unexplosive. There’s no chance for them to throw the ball downfield. They’ve been notoriously a dink and dunk offense, but they’ve always had the ability to push the ball downfield with a receiver or Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) down the seam. Watching that game yesterday, every ball that Brady throws is tight. Every ball is a difficult throw. These are tight-window throws that he has to be exact on. There’s no separation between his receivers and the defenders. These are perfect throws to get 10-, 15-yard completions, and that’s not the case we’ve seen from the Patriots for a long time.”
Orlovsky then doubled down: “Right now, this is the worst Patriots’ offense since 2003. Let that sink in — since 2003. We said that a little bit last year about their offense, but last year, they still had Gronk and still had an offensive line they could transition to and (have a) dominant run game.”
Former Colts punter Pat McAfee, however, correctly pointed out that New England has had offensive issues in the past and still found ways to win.
“They’ve had worse offenses than they do right now and they’ve still won the Super Bowl. That’s the power of Bill Belichick. That’s the power of the New England Patriots.”
It’s true, too. The Patriots have the NFL’s best defense, and the 17 points the offense was able to score Sunday might actually be enough to win most games — even in the playoffs. Of course, we’ve also seen plenty of times where Brady and the Patriots are able to turn things around in the snap of a finger, and McAfee wouldn’t be surprised if that happens this season, too.
“(Brady) got his ass kicked (Sunday). Tom Brady, we saw him get beat up a lot more than we’ve ever seen him in the past,” McAffee said. “He looked kind of scared, but at some point, that’s all going to come together, and when that does, it’s over.”
Perhaps Brady and the Patriots offense will prove McAfee prescient. But with that defense in Foxboro, it might not even matter.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images