FOXBORO, Mass. — Circumstances have not been ideal for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ offense this season.
They lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement.
They lost two starting O-linemen to injury — one for the entire season (David Andrews) and another for half of it (Isaiah Wynn).
They lost fullback James Develin to injury, and his replacement Jakob Johnson, too.
They traded away Demaryius Thomas to sign Antonio Brown, then kicked Brown to the curb for various off-the-field reasons.
Their top draft pick, N’Keal Harry, missed 10 weeks of practice and still isn’t up to speed.
Their marquee midseason acquisition, Mohamed Sanu, is banged up and still learning the offense.
All of these things are true. But at this point in the season, with four games remaining before the playoffs begin, outside reinforcements aren’t coming. The Patriots are going to need to make their offense work with the pieces they have available.
“It’s kind of just where we’re at,” quarterback Tom Brady said Friday ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. “We’ve added some players late, and guys are coming back from injury and so forth — I’ve said this before — like every team in the league.
“There’s no excuses. It’s ‘Did you win or did you not?’ At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to. We’re trying to score more points than them, and teams that are good in all three phases are tough to beat. And we want to be one of those teams.”
The Patriots have scored more points than 10 of their 12 opponents this season, but their offense has sputtered ever since they concluded the cupcake portion of their schedule. In their last four games, the Patriots have scored 20, 17, 13 and 22 points, with all three of their touchdowns in last Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans coming in the final 16 minutes.
A more robust offensive effort likely will be required Sunday against a Chiefs team that boasts three offensive superstars in quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Both Patriots-Chiefs meetings last season were barnburners, with New England winning 43-40 in Week 6 and 37-31 in overtime in the AFC Championship Game.