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Quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots’ 17-10 loss against the Steelers: Is Tom Brady done?

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Could the GOAT be on his last legs?

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady done? The simple answer to the question is “No, Tom Brady is not done.” However, the better question may be, “Is Tom Brady still Tom Brady?” I think the answer to that question is a pretty resounding no. That might seem like a stretch for some of you, but the indications have been there all year long.

Let’s think back, how many times have you been truly impressed with the way he played in a game? “He’s still the GOAT,” we’d say, but the play on the field didn’t reflect that recently. He was great last week, except for the end of the first half, when he screwed up the clock management and cost the Patriots at least three points. Not to mention on the play before he missed a wide open Chris Hogan in the end zone.

Lost in all of this is the fact that New England scored just six points in the second half, as well. They lost by 1. A touchdown instead of a field goal on one of those drives, or a field goal at the end of the half, and it’s a totally different game. Yesterday, they scored 10 points against the Steelers, the lowest total they’ve managed all season. They also had the ball in the red zone twice in the fourth quarter down a touchdown or less, and came away with 0 points.

After the terrible interception by Brady on the first drive into the red zone, he now has four fourth quarter picks this season. That number is similar to 2013, when he had five. However, he also had 10 touchdowns in the fourth in 2013, and he has just four this year. Before this season, Tom Brady was 58-11 in December — he’s 1-2 in 2018. The Patriots have lost back-to-back games in December for the first time since 2002, which is also the last time Tom Brady failed to quarterback them to the playoffs. The numbers don’t look great.

Throw the number out, and the biggest thing for me is still the eye test. Like you, I watch all the games. I look at the game film. Tom Brady does not look comfortable in the pocket. As of last month, he had the worst passer rating (59.6) against the blitz of any quarterback in the league. With quarterbacks getting hurt around the league and other, worse passers coming in, he may no longer be at the bottom, but I can’t imagine the number is much better. Use whatever stats you want, he hasn’t looked right all year.

Is Tom Brady done? No. Has he fallen off the Rob Parker Memorial Wall? No. But, is he playing like the MVP he was last year? Like the quarterback who threw for 500 yards in the Super Bowl? No. He’s playing like a slightly above average quarterback this season. He’s still a top-10 passer in the NFL, but I don’t think anyone is mistaking him for a top 2-3 passer.

This team is going to go as far as Tom Brady can take them. The problem is, I don’t know how far that is right now. The teams at the beginning of this dynasty won without elite quarterback play, and this team is not set up to do that. Without a complete and quick turnaround from Brady, it’s hard to imagine the Patriots winning a game in the playoffs, never mind going to an eighth straight AFC Championship game or Super Bowl.

Pat is the host of The Patriot Nation Podcast

Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats

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