This is what we saw from the New England Patriots 16-3 win over the Denver Broncos.
QB Tom Brady didn’t have to excel, but should we be concerned?
We all knew that Brady would struggle without TE Rob Gronkowski, but the difference in production has been striking. Brady completed just 16 of 32 passes (50.0%) for 188 yards and no touchdowns. It was his worst outing of the season.
With Gronkowski, Brady completed 73.1% of passes, for 9.84 yards per attempt, 12 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions with a passer rating of 133.9. Since losing Gronkowski against the Seahawks, Brady has completed 63.4% of passes, for 8.17 yards per attempt, 10 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions with a passer rating of...99.5.
So even without Gronkowski, Brady would still rank as the 6th best quarterback in the NFL, behind Matt Ryan, Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, and Aaron Rodgers. He’s fine.
RB Dion Lewis has finally entered the game.
It took 5 games, but Lewis is back in business. While the Patriots struggled to generate any production through the air or on the ground, Lewis was the shining light for the offense, picking up 104 yards from scrimmage. Lewis was the only player that didn’t contribute much against the Ravens last week, so it was great to see him back in action.
RB LeGarrette Blount is in the record books!
While Blount put together an unimpressive 31 yards on 17 carries (1.8 yards per carry!), he scored his 15th rushing touchdown of the season, the most in Patriots franchise history. There are two games to go. Maybe Blount can extend his lead to incredible heights.
How about that Patriots offensive line?
Last year, LB Von Miller and the Broncos annihilated the New England offensive line in the AFC Championship Game. RT Marcus Cannon played so poorly that people were calling for his release (myself included).
This year? Von Miller: 5 tackles. No sacks. No quarterback hits.
Kudos to the Patriots offensive line for cementing their status as being good enough to win in the playoffs.
The Patriots defensive line absolutely dominated the Broncos.
DE Trey Flowers record 2 sacks. DE Jabaal Sheard added a sack and a quarterback hit, along with 3 other tackles. DT Malcom Brown picked up a sack. LB Kyle Van Noy and DT Alan Branch added tackles for loss, including one that knocked the Broncos out of field goal range.
New England ranks #1 in the NFL in points allowed per game.
The New England Patriots have allowed 233 points on the season, or 16.64 points per game (PAPG). That’s ahead of the Seattle Seahawks (16.79 PAPG). Ahead of the New York Giants (17.86 PAPG). Ahead of the Dallas Cowboys (18.31 PAPG) and Denver Broncos (18.43 PAPG) and Minnesota Vikings (18.50 PAPG) and Baltimore Ravens (18.79 PAPG) and Kansas City Chiefs (19.57 PAPG) and Pittsburgh Steelers (19.71 PAPG).
Maybe the Patriots defense isn’t the prettiest every week, but they’ve done an excellent job over the course of the season.
Patriots set a few NFL records for long term success.
The Patriots have clinched a bye week for an NFL record 7th straight season. They have also won the AFC East for the 8th straight season, the longest streak in NFL history. To accomplish these feats in the salary cap era cements the Patriots as the greatest dynasty in the history of the sport.