Tom Brady’s final stat line — 24 of 47 for 326 yards with three touchdowns and one interception — wasn’t terrible, but most of New England’s success through the air came in garbage time, with the Texans building a 28-9 lead before fending off a late rally from the Patriots.
“This Patriots passing attack is in utter disarray,” Nick Wright declared on Monday’s episode of “First Things First” on FS1. “And it’s partially on the receivers. But it’s mostly on that guy yelling at the receivers right there, Tom Brady.”
There’s plenty of criticism to go around for New England’s offensive struggles. The Patriots’ rushing attack hasn’t been good. The receivers aren’t getting open with any consistency. The tight ends have been invisible in the passing game. The offensive line has been unsteady.
But Wright believes Brady deserves most of the blame. The 42-year-old quarterback hasn’t performed up to his usual standards this season. As a result, the Patriots haven’t been able to overcome some of their other flaws.
“I already know the narrative today is going to be the Patriots don’t have enough weapons,” Wright said, before challenging the notion. “The Patriots spent a first-round pick on a running back (Sony Michel), then a first-round pick on a wide receiver (N’Keal Harry), then traded a second-round pick for a wide receiver (Mohamed Sanu). All of that has happened in the last 18 months. There are a lot of teams in the league whose quarterbacks would love for them to have that type of investment on skill-position guys.
“Meanwhile, you still have national broadcasters arguing (wide receiver) Julian Edelman is potentially a Hall of Famer. So you’ve got a guy — and I understand he’s older — but an 11-year vet who is to some people’s minds a Hall of Fame player, you’ve got two first-round picks and a player you traded a second-round pick for. The problem is (Sunday night) was maybe the best game a 42-year-old quarterback has ever played, and it was a bad game. Because guys his age are not supposed to be good anymore.”
Simply put, Brady hasn’t been Brady, and, according to Wright, there’s no evidence to suggest the six-time Super Bowl champion will return to vintage form this season. Thus, New England might find it difficult to outlast the AFC’s other contenders — the Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens — en route to another Super Bowl berth.
“Let me be careful about what I’m saying here. I almost said he’s not any good anymore. He’s certainly not any good right now, and the only way you could believe he’s going to be good again is if he does have some magical GOAT quotient to go to that he is waiting until the last possible moment to activate,” Wright said of Brady. “But they could’ve used it (Sunday night), they could’ve used it against Baltimore. As of this morning, the playoffs do not go through Gillette (Stadium). And I know everyone’s gonna blame everyone but Brady.”
The Patriots’ Week 13 loss bumped them from the top spot in the AFC standings, as the Ravens, who defeated the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, now own the conference’s No. 1 seed.