Let's add this to the I'm not surprised department. In the 61 drop backs for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, he was sacked 4 times, hit 16 times, and hurried 18 times (the hurries are by my count, could've been more by scouting agency).
That means that Brady was hit on 20 of his drop backs, or roughly a third of his passing attempts. If that sounds like a lot, you'd be right.
Per official stats, Denver's 20 QB hits was the most for any team since 2006.— Doug Farrar (@SI_DougFarrar) January 25, 2016
More than any other since 2006? That's atrocious. Brady was hit just 18 times in the entire 2014 playoff run and faced his highest rate of pressure since the 2007 Super Bowl against the Giants.
Part of the blame lies with the players who were unable to execute, or at least stand in the way of the Broncos pass rushers. Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, and Cameron Fleming were awful, while Josh Kline left plenty to be desired at guard. Bryan Stork was fine, but he had a few boneheaded moments of his own. Shaq Mason actually put together a second-straight quality game.
The Patriots have to hope that next year will be better. Nate Solder will be back to push Vollmer back to the right side of the line, and young players like Stork, Mason, and Tre Jackson will have another year of experience. Will that be enough? We'll find out.
If the line doesn't improve, then the Patriots will find themselves short of the Super Bowl in 2016.