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Patriots Blog

Injuries, drops, short week bail out lifeless husk of Patriots Dynasty



Friday, October 05, 2018
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Thanks entirely to a rash of injuries on the opposite sideline, frequent drops by opposing receivers and a short week for their opponent to prepare, the lifeless husk of the Patriots Dynasty salvaged a 38-24 home victory over the Colts on Thursday night.
 
Pronounced dead 11 days ago in Detroit, the Patriots Dynasty was considered quite good at football from 2001 through 2017. But now, a group of men go from game to game wearing the same clothes, coached by the same coach and led by the same quarterback, hoping for huge breaks to bail them out from numerous, woeful deficiencies.
 
Those breaks materialized at every conceivable turn this week, beginning with a severely depleted Indianapolis roster that had 17 players on the injury report, seven of whom were ruled out on Wednesday, including wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. The Colts, who actually activated two players they decided not to dress, almost certainly would have won this game if a fraction of those players had been healthy. After all, the Colts only had three losses entering this Week 5 game, and it probably would’ve been only two losses if their idiot coach knew how to punt in overtime.
 
Likewise, the Colts had to get ready on a short week, a factor that greatly favored the Patriots, who only had more or less the same exact amount of time to prepare.
 
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck looked like his sharp, old self, throwing for 365 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions on an 59 attempts, which is almost certainly the number of passes the Colts wanted him to throw. He was the unfortunate victim of somewhere between six and 30 drops in this game, at least two of which were would-be interceptions. Students of advanced metrics will tell you that teams with a lot of drops totally should’ve won that game, because drops are merely an inability to execute a play, and what does football have to do with the proper execution of plays?
 
Meanwhile, the other huddle was led by Tom Brady, whose broken passing game forced him to run in one score from just a yard beyond the end zone. He had also had three touchdown passes in the game, and to illustrate how woefully deficient Brady’s assortment of receivers is this season, those touchdowns went to three different players, as none of them possessed the elite receiving ability to score multiple touchdowns. Not even Julian Edelman, who had seven catches for 57 yards in his return to the Patriots after missing the last 20 regular-season games, found the end zone. It was a sure sign his eliteness has dwindled.
 
“I feel like I’m the best me right now,” Edelman said, suggesting he is incapable of being better. “Living my best life.”s
 
But even worse than the dearth of Brady’s skill players is Brady’s abundance of declining skills. This was on full display Thursday as Brady threw two interceptions for the second game in a row. Brady now has six interceptions this season after throwing just 10 in the previous two seasons combined. The two he threw against Indy were possibly among the worst of his career, as bounced them off the hands of his own receivers into arms of awaiting Colts’ defenders. In each case, the choice to ricochet passes off his targets was a curious one. s
 
On the second interception, which was briefly in the grasp of Rob Gronkowski, the official scorer initially ruled the play a fumble. But after reviewing replays, the scorer did not see that Gronkowski had made a catch. Instead, the tape showed Brady, racing toward a rapidly approaching cliff of skill diminishment, and careening off the edge, all the way down to a passer rating of 102.5 in the game and 100.8 for the season. Naturally, the scorer changed the play to interception to properly indicate how awful Brady is.
 
“There’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said after the game. It was not immediately clear whether the statement could be trusted, but it was certain that it wouldn’t be.
 
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown