Patriots' Offense In Midseason Form

Tom Brady (USPresswire)

It was an aerial assault of unprecedented proportions on Monday night. Tom Brady and the Patriots threw for more yards in one game than any other New England QB in franchise history, or Dolphins history or Monday Night history. The Patriots cruised to an important division win 38-24.

 Last year's unanimous league MVP clearly didn't miss a beat in this year's season opener. Tom Brady opened 2011 with a bang, throwing for a career-high 517 yards with four touchdowns as the Patriots beat Miami, 38-24, on Monday Night Football.

   This was vintage Brady, completing passes to eight different receivers, executing the two-minute drill to perfection and running Miami's defense into the ground with a flawless, no-huddle offense. His biggest weapons Monday were his two tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who combined for 13 catches, 189 yards and two touchdowns.

   "We executed pretty well at times," Brady said. "Look, it's a team sport. Those guys were making some great plays catching the ball. Aaron (Hernandez), Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), Chad (Ochocinco), Deion (Branch), Wes (Welker). There was a lot of tough looks out there that we got and guys really stayed aware of the situations. We made enough plays to win. That's the goal."

   While the defense looked shaky at times, particularly in the first half, Brady and the offense never wavered. The Patriots moved the ball at will in each of their first two drives thanks in large part to the running-back duo of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead, and Brady took over single-handedly in the final two quarters by exposing the Dolphins' inability to cover his tight ends.

   "I guess that's why they drafted us," Hernandez said. "Rob (Gronkowski) takes a lot off of me. He's so dynamic that a lot of people have to worry about him, and forget about me. Sometimes they forget about him and have to worry about me, so it's a great combination."

   The switch between running a no-huddle offense and operating with a conventional snap count never seemed to disrupt Brady, who remained cool while Miami wilted under the pressure.

   "There's a fine line between putting pressure on the defense and playing out of control, and I thought at times we did both," Brady said. "You never really want to play out of control on offense, but it was a good pace at times. (It) gave them some problems, but at other times, they adjusted to it. We've got to find ways to execute better."

   Brady's 517 yards set a new franchise record for a single game and also broke the Monday Night Football record. The final blow came on a 99-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker in the fourth quarter, though head coach Bill Belichick made sure to acknowledge the entire team for its efforts, even rookie tackle Nate Solder, who filled in for the injured Sebastian Vollmer and held his own against pass-rusher Cameron Wake.

   "We got a lot of protection out of our receivers. Tom did a great job of throwing the ball, so it was a good complementary game," Belichick said. "We ran the ball effectively -- enough to keep them honest. It was no one-man band out there. We had a lot of contributions from everybody and that's what a good offensive team should do. We should be good across the board."

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