I tried to tell y’all, I ain’t worried.
Now clearly yesterday’s win over the Colts is nothing to brag about. Indianapolis’ secondary epitomizes what it means to be chips. And despite Andrew Luck’s impressive performance, his receivers let him down time and time again, dropping passes as if they had feet for hands.
But Thursday’s performance from the offense is what we were waiting to see from the unit all season. They displayed the tempo and precision we have come to expect from a Tom Brady-led offense. They complimented their typical dink-and-dunk offense with some explosive downfield passes, exploiting the Colts’ predictable zone defense. Brady finished the night with 344 yards and 3 touchdowns, including one to Josh Gordon for Brady’s 500th career touchdown and his record-breaking 71st touchdown to a different receiver.
Not everything was perfect, though. The defense seemed to be in bend-but-don’t-break-mode all night. By no means were they bad, but for the level of competition they were facing, you would like to see a little bit more resistance. If not for some self-inflicted wounds on the Colts part, this game could have been a lot closer as the Patriots failed to score a single third quarter point, allowing the Colts to come to within one score with 12:48 remaining in the fourth quarter. Devin McCourty was especially shaky as the veteran safety seemed to be a step slow all night and allowed two touchdowns.
Offensively, the team seemed to hit a wall in that aforementioned third quarter, which was highlighted by two interceptions that will go down as Brady’s but should be attributed to the two receivers who dropped his passes, Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski. Coming out of the half, head coach Bill Belichick talked about how he was looking for consistency from the team and he got the exact opposite of that during the third quarter.
But just how you can’t be too low about September loses, you can’t be too high about October wins. This is especially true when you consider that one of the hottest teams in the league is coming into Foxboro next weekend: the Kansas City Chiefs. There are two ways to look at the upcoming matchup. Defensively, it’s looking very slow for this unit. Yes, breakout quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the real deal who has shown that he can elevate his team when necessary. But it is all of his weapons that should have this New England secondary shook. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are going to test the speed of this unit while players like Sammy Watkins and Kareem Hunt are not going to allow the coaching staff to just key on the Chief’s two big name threats.
With that being said, Kansas City’s defense will also have its hands full as they have proven that they are not exactly the ’85 Bears. It will be important for Brady and company to build on the success they have sustained these past two weeks as they could find themselves in a shootout next weekend. Continuing to incorporate Josh Gordon and Sony Michel into the offense will go a long way towards keeping this office balanced and varied as they advance through the season.
Last night’s win over the Colts was what we needed to see from this Patriots squad. For the second week in a row, they have made a clear statement: we are still the New England Patriots and we still know how to handle our business. Championships are not won in September, and they definitely are not won in October. But the upcoming schedule will go a long way in determining if this team is a contender or pretender. With upcoming games against the Chiefs, Bears, Titans, and Packers, the Patriots better have some more statements to make because you best believe we will all be listening.