Brady and the Patriots are struggling to create big plays

The New England Patriots are 2-1 on the young season, but it has not been because of the offense. New England is currently last in the entire league in yards per play after facing the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, and Oakland Raiders. The passing game is 31st in net yards per attempt, behind only the team that beat them in week 1, Miami with Ryan Tannehill. The Patriots are averaging 3.5 yards a carry on the ground (26th in NFL). They also rank 26th in yards per drive, and 22nd in points per drive. The one thing that New England has not done is turn the ball over, but the consistent offense that moves the ball down the field and converts in the red zone has been lacking.

The defense is the opposite, ranking near the top in nearly every category, though so far they have taken advantage of the murderer’s row of Ryan Tannehill, Matt Cassel, and rookie Derek Carr. The passing offense, meanwhile, has averaged 5.5 yards per attempt against teams that have allowed 7.7 yards per attempt against other offenses (quarterbacked by Drew Brees, Austin Davis/Shaun Hill, E.J. Manuel, Alex Smith, Geno Smith, and Ryan Fitzpatrick).

After the week 1 loss, I took an in-depth look at the Patriots for the Read Option. The line played horribly, and Brady struggled to connect on the intermediate and deep throws. He completed only 3 of 20 passes that were thrown more than 10 yards downfield. The response from the coaching staff has been to basically limit the deeper throws. In the Minnesota, the passing game was a non-factor, but a blocked field goal return at halftime turned what could have been a contest more similar …read more