Tom Brady has had his moments of frustration this season. We saw them come out a bit when he gave short answers to every question after a win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
On Sunday night, there was no more hiding his emotions. All Sunday night, NBC’s cameras showed Brady coming off the field looking like he was about to explode. Once, he was shown yelling at his receivers, and it looked like a lot of his ire was being directed at Phillip Dorsett.
The fact about the Patriots’ offense is they don’t have a lot of receiving talent after old reliable Julian Edelman and running back James White. That seemed clear as the Patriots struggled to move the ball for most of a 28-22 loss to the Houston Texans.
At one point in the third quarter the Patriots went for it on fourth-and-inches, called a play to get Mohamed Sanu open and Brady hit him in the hands. Sanu dropped it. That summed up the night. The Texans scored a dagger touchdown right after that.
Tom Brady frustrated all night
Brady yelling at his teammates was easy for everyone to see. Amateur lip readers on social media ascertained that Brady was telling his receivers they needed to be “faster, quicker, more explosive.” That was the easy part to see for anyone watching at home, as was Sanu’s bad drop.
There seemed to be plenty of other things going on. Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky posted a video on Twitter in which he pointed out that it seemed Dorsett missed a hand signal to run a double move, and Brady was irate as he explained what happened to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the sideline. Maybe Orlovsky’s description after watching on TV wasn’t exactly what happened, but something set Brady off. Houston took Edelman away and that should have opened things up for others, but nobody other than White took advantage. The Patriots didn’t get in the end zone until White caught a touchdown from Brady with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. Then New England, which has had trouble finding a healthy and reliable kicker, missed the extra point after taking a delay of game penalty.
While Brady might never publicly talk about his frustration, it’s obvious the Patriots offense is struggling. The defense carries this team. Brady is 42 years old and he’s simply not the same MVP-level quarterback, which is understandable. His interception to Bradley Roby early in the game wasn’t pretty, and it set a tone for the rest of the night. Brady was 7-of-19 for 82 yards and an interception in the first half. His final numbers looked a lot better after the Patriots offense started to move the ball in the fourth quarter, after the Texans took a huge lead.
Brady is still capable but he needs more help, and that’s simply not happening lately.
Texans had more playmakers
The Texans made more plays. Deshaun Watson threw three touchdowns against the best passing defense in football. After Sanu’s fourth-down drop for the Patriots, Watson had a touchdown pass dropped by Will Fuller in the end zone. Watson came right back and threw a touchdown to Kenny Stills to give Houston a 21-3 lead. Then he had a touchdown catch from DeAndre Hopkins on a crazy option play.
New England had plenty of defensive players deal with illness through the week, and it affected the team so much they took the unheard of measure of taking two separate planes to Houston. The sickness had to affect the Patriots defense, but nobody is going to ever feel sorry for New England. And the Patriots still had a chance at the end after rallying some in the fourth quarter, and they barely missed recovering an onside kick with 50 seconds left.
The loss hurts the Patriots. Now the Ravens can take the No. 1 seed in the AFC by matching New England’s record the rest of the way. The Ravens and Patriots are both 10-2 but Baltimore has the tiebreaker.
Nobody will count out the Patriots. They’re still a 10-2 team on their way to a division title, and have an all-time great coach and quarterback who know how to win in the postseason. But the Patriots will have to find new ways to win, and it won’t be with a lot of offense.
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