By: Ian Logue
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a tough afternoon on Saturday getting things going offensively.
It was a tale of two halves for Tom Brady and the offense on Saturday. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
In the first half, Brady battled with what were two of his worst quarters this season. In the first quarter Brady was just 2-of-9 for 31 yards, his fifth lowest yardage total for that quarter this year, as well as his worst completion percentage (22%) during the opening quarter of the game this season.
In the second quarter Brady was 5-of-10 for 56 yards, his lowest yardage total for that quarter this year, and his 50% completion percentage was his third lowest performance of the second quarter this season.
It wasn’t exactly Brady’s fault. With Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer both sidelined with injuries, New England started Logan Mankins at left tackle, and Donald Thomas at left guard. The Dolphins attacked that side early on, and one of the big issues they had was the fact the Patriots runningbacks struggled picking up the blitz. It lead to three first half sacks on Brady, and he was under considerable duress.
Trailing 17-0 heading into the second half they adjusted, bringing in additional protection which gave Brady more time to jump start the offense and allowed them to get back into the game.
They came out in the no huddle, and between the increased tempo and the protection adjustments, Brady started to get things going in the third quarter. He finished 12-of-16 (75%) for 97 yards and a touchdown during a 17-point quarter, and even rushed for another score, which erased what had been New England’s largest deficit of the season.
From there he had his best fourth quarter since week two. He finished 8-of-11 for 120 yards, which was his biggest yardage total for the final quarter since New England’s win over San Diego. He also added another rushing touchdown.
After it was over he was happy with how they played in the final two quarters after a slow start.
“I thought we executed better in the second half,” said Brady, who finished 27-of-46 for 304 yards and one touchdown passing, along with two rushing touchdowns. “We just had a hard time getting going. We obviously didn’t play very well in the first half.”
Brady admitted that in the locker room at halftime there were things that were said. One of the big things that apparently came out was just to make sure that when they came out in the second half, each player needed to be focused on doing their own individual job.
“I think we made a pretty big commitment at halftime to each other to go out and everyone do their job and quit worrying about everybody else and go out and play better and we did that,” said Brady.
They definitely did, and the result allowed them to improve to 12-3 on the season with one game to go, and for now earned them at least a first round bye.
Despite Saturday’s slow start, Brady still believes that it was just their inability to settle in that that hampered them in this one as they’ll now spend the week preparing for Buffalo.
“We have a lot of playmakers on offense,” said Brady. “I think it just took us a little bit to get settled into the game. Once we did that, we made some plays. That was a good job by the whole group.”