Last season Tom Brady wasn’t sacked very often, finishing the year having been sacked just 16 times, while getting pretty good protection from his offensive line.

Unfortunately so far this year it’s been a little shakier, with Brady having been sacked 12 times so far through six games, four of which came Sunday against San Diego during their 23-20 win at Qualcomm Stadium.

Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light had a tough afternoon on Sunday, spending the entire game battling with Chargers linebacker Antwan Barnes – and having a tough go of it. Light ended up having the same experience that Ravens tackle Michael Oher did last weekend with rookie Jermaine Cunningham.

It didn’t go very well.


Tom Brady has already been sacked 12 times so far this season (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)

Barnes repeatedly made Light’s life difficult for much of the day, and was a factor from the start of the game.  He allowed Barnes to force two hurried throws from Brady, including one where Light was called for illegal hands to the face against him after Barnes pushed him into Brady and forced an incompletion, leading to a field goal attempt.

Light also let Quentin Jammer get around the edge and get a hand on Brady on the next third down, forcing another punt.

It made for a tough start to the game, where Brady admitted after that they had a difficult time getting much going.

“What Offense?” Brady said afterward.  “I mean we had a hard time moving at all.  We just couldn’t get into a rhythm out there.  Second half was better, I don’t think it was great by any stretch.  But it feels good to win, and see the defense play the way they did – get those turnovers.”

Thankfully they adjusted their protections and the problems seemed to subside a bit in the second half.  Overall Brady was sacked four times, and thanks to Light’s inability to slow down Barnes caused several hurried throws that got them off to a slow start.

Brady went into the locker room at half-time having completed just 6-of-16 passes for 35-yards including a touchdown, but they were 0-for-6 on third down.

Thankfully they got things going in the second half, with Brady finishing the game 19-of-32 for 159 yards.  Despite their protection problems, in the end they were able to make enough plays offensively to get it done. Hopefully things improve in the coming weeks, because head coach Bill Belichick knows this one could have turned out differently and admitted afterward that they were fortunate to leave San Diego with a win.

“I’ve got to give our guys a lot of credit,” said Belichick. “They really hung in there, fought hard, made some plays when we had to and that’s the kind of game it was.  We’ve been in some close games with the Chargers, and we’re just fortunate to come out on top here today.”