Brady encouraged by offense's balance
While there's some truth to the idea the Patriots
don't care how they get their points just as long as they get them,
there's no question that being more balanced makes life a lot easier on
all parties involved.
In Sunday's 30-21 win over the Jets, the Patriots
featured a two-pronged attack rarely seen this season. More often than
not, quarterback Tom Brady has had to carry the offense on his back,
but against a Jets defense struggling to stop the run and focused
primarily on shutting down the passing game, BenJarvus Green-Ellis
rushed for 136 yards on 27 carries, providing much-needed balance for
the second week in a row.
As a team, the Patriots rushed 35 times, while
Brady attempted 33 passes. The previous week in Oakland, New England
featured a similar split, attempting 30 passes and rushing 30 times.
The point totals have essentially been the same as they were in the
non-balanced games, with the Patriots scoring 31 against the Raiders
and 30 against the Jets, but the lack of stress on Brady's shoulders
and the equally important lack of turnovers has been the real key to
In the loss to Buffalo, Brady threw four
interceptions, resulting in a wild, fourth-quarter comeback for the
Bills. Brady indicated the newfound balance has more to do with what
the opponents are offering defensively. Regardless, it's given teams
more to worry about when facing New England.
"The Jets are focused on stopping the pass. A lot
of what they do is coverage related," Brady said, "and they did a
decent job stopping the run at times (Sunday), too. They stopped us for
1 yard gain; it's not like it was 7 yards a carry out there. There were
"They're a tough, physical front. They've got some
good linebackers, some good run-stopping linebackers, (and) there's a
lot of movement on that defense, too, so you don't always get great
The Patriots became less effective last year when
their running game eroded, and the Jets took advantage by attacking
Brady in New York's playoff win at Gillette Stadium. In order to avoid
another pitfall in January, the Patriots will need to maintain the
balance throughout the entire year.
As everyone knows, it becomes harder to throw when
the weather deteriorates, so if the Patriots can continue running
effectively down the stretch, they might have a much longer stay in the
playoffs this time around.
"We've got to be able to run the ball, we've got
to stay balanced, and we've got to be able to take advantage of
whatever we see," Brady said. "I think it gives everybody a lot of
comfort, knowing that we are capable of running the ball effectively as
we did (Sunday)."
Patriots remain unbeatable at home
--The Patriots have now won 19 consecutive
regular-season home games dating back to a 47-7 win over Arizona in
Sunday's win set a franchise record in that
category, with New England topping the previous record of 18
consecutive regular-season home victories from Dec. 29, 2002, through
Sept. 8, 2005. The Patriots own an overall record of 62-12 (.838) at
Gillette Stadium in regular-season games, which is the best home record
in the NFL since the stadium opened in 2002.
--Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished with
a career-best 136 rushing yards on 27 carries, two of which were
Green-Ellis' 136 rushing yards are the most for a
Patriots player since October 2008, when Sammy Morris had 138 rushing
yards in a 41-7 Patriots victory over the Broncos.
--Quarterback Tom Brady threw for one touchdown
Sunday against the Jets, snapping his streak of 13 consecutive games
with two or more touchdown passes.
That streak leaves him tied with Peyton Manning's
2004 total for the longest such streak in NFL history.
--TE Aaron Hernandez returned to the lineup Sunday
and finished with five catches for 56 yards. He had missed two weeks
due to a sprained MCL in his left knee.
--WR Deion Branch hauled in an 11-yard catch in
the third quarter, moving him past Jim Colclough (283) into ninth place
on the Patriots' all-time receptions list.
--WR Matthew Slater suffered a rib injury Sunday
and did not return to the game. His status could be in doubt this
--S James Ihedigbo left Sunday's game due to a
stinger and did not return, though it appears he'll be fine for the
upcoming game against the Cowboys.
--WR Wes Welker finished with 124 yards on five
catches, and he now has 740 yards receiving on the season -- the most
ever by a player in his team's first five games.
Hot Topic: Patriots - Jets Game Thread