After much stress and worrying, the Patriots are finally back on the right track this season. With all the injuries this offense has sustained – missing Marcus Cannon and Rex Burkhead – Tom Brady still seemed to work his magic like it was any other week. Brady truly looked like a younger, more agile version of himself having to avoid pressure every play since the Texans D-Line ran through the O-Line, specifically, tackles Nate Solder and LaAdrian Waddle, with the likes of JJ Watt, Jadaveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus. Brady took a lot of sacks, fumbled multiple times, and got no exterior protection, which made the game that much more difficult for him.
Before we get to the heroics of this game, lets talk about how bad this defense is. Don’t get me wrong, Dont’a Hightower is the leader of this defense and I fully expect a turnaround when he returns. For now, though, this defense would give-up points to just about any offense in the league . They lack a true leader, are giving up huge penalties, and it seems there is a miscommunication in every play. Despite the horrible all-around defensive play, Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler had truly stellar games. Gilmore had his first interception as a Patriot, and Malcolm Butler helped shut down DeAndre Hopkins and other targets all game long. The real problem was the line and linebackers. Every single passing play, a linebacker seemed to blow his coverage and give up something big. On the rare occasion that the coverage was decent, the defensive line could do nothing to contain the speed of Deshaun Watson. Any time pressure got to Watson, he scrambled to a wide open field. For a defense that got so much praise in the offseason after the second half of the Super Bowl to give up 33 points to a rookie QB at a home game is simply unacceptable.
Ok, now that I’ve laid out my frustrations, let’s talk about this incredible offense. I really could just leave you with four names: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, and Chris Hogan, and those names would sum up the offensive performance. Gronk caught his 70th career TD pass, disproving all the doubters and showing he is healthy and ready to go off this year. Chris Hogan continued to use his invisibility cloak to get wide open and score touchdowns; he had 2 on Sunday, bringing his season total up to 3 TD’s and 154 yards. For real, do the other teams just not see him?! Brandin Cooks might be the single greatest 1st Round Draft pick in Patriots history. He had 131 yards in 5 receptions and 2 TD’s, including the game-winner. Cooks is lighting fast, and had a catch-of-the-year candidate when he reached around a clear PI for a big gain. Then the game-winner, a perfect pass from Brady to where only Cooks could catch it. Cooks sealed the deal with a toe tap before being mobbed by the returned Danny Amendola. Amendola had a huge return game, but on the final drive alone, he had a 30-yard punt return and a 24-yard reception on 3rd and 15 to set up the game winner. Cooks, Hogan, and Amendola are a very underrated trio producing at an incredible rate.
Now, for the big topic, the overrated system QB who has fallen off a cliff, Tom Brady (this was sarcasm, please don’t hurt me or my family). No doubt about it: Tom Brady is the best player in the NFL right now. He threw for 378 yards and 5 TD’s against a top defense in the AFC, and he treated the Texans like a peewee football team. Brady silenced all the haters in every aspect this game: deep ball, handling intense pressure, a good secondary, and reading defenses. All aspects a certain @MaxKellerman said Brady was gonna lose this season after a fall from a cliff. Well, right now that cliff looks like a plateau.
Pats are back for that 6th ring. Be afraid, NFL.