After two terrible displays of offense and especially in the passing game, the New England Patriots are once again confident that Tom Brady can make anything, no matter what receivers are in front of him, be it Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson or Brandon Bolden.
Finally, some smiling faces after a win for the Patriots, having no trouble beating the awful Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-3 thanks to a strong second quarter performance, and the Bucs’ offense falling silent after scoring three points in the first quarter.
The Patriots offense still isn’t clicking like they’ve made us used to in recent years. They scored only two touchdowns in the game, and settled for Stephen Gostkowski the rest of the way. Brady once again couldn’t avoid throwing an interception, his second of the season. But he did complete 25-of-36 passes for two touchdowns, finding Kenbrell Thompkins on both occasions.
You go through the spring camps and you have practices and because there’s no real competition — there’s no scoreboard — in some ways you get a false sense of security that things are going the right way. Then you have preseason games and practice and things are going the right way and none of it matters, because what matters is what you do during the regular season.
Brady didn’t rely only on his safety option from the first two weeks, Julian Edelman, looking for rookie Aaron Dobson more than anyone else (10 targets). The Buccaneers did play good defense for most of the game, but the moment the Patriots found themselves in some sort of groove, it was enough to kill the game, while Josh Freeman and dysfunctional Buccaneers offense struggled getting anything going.
Aqib Talib, who used to play for the Bucs, got himself an interception, distinguishing himself once again as the star of the Patriots’ secondary. The Patriots stopped the Bucs three times on fourth down situations, all of them resulting in scores (two touchdowns and a field goal). Talib’s interception led to a field goal, and the Patriots got two more stops inside the 20. Tampa Bay have got some serious problems going on, but it’s hard to say the Pats’ defense didn’t do what it was supposed to.
Talib was on Vincent Jackson, finishing with only 3 receptions for 34 yards. All that money invested in him won’t do much good if the quarterback and the head coach don’t really like each other, and seem to be on an inevitable collision course that will end with very badly for the team.
New England keep getting better. Their run defense wasn’t as effective as always, with Doug Martin running for 88 yards on 20 carries, but that was about the only special thing about the Bucs’ offense. On the other end, Tom Brady seems to be finally connecting with a group of young receivers, waiting to get Amendola, Gronkowski and Vereen back. There is someone here to hold the fort on offense, but that is as long as the opponents continue to be of low quality, like the Bills and Jets, or of the falling apart kind, like the circus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become.