September 26, 2017

Take the air out and run for it

by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
September 22, 2009

I think I have a way to help Tom Brady get through his early season struggles.

Take the ball away from him.

As noted yesterday, the Patriots have leaned heavily on the pass through the first eight quarters of the season – calling 2.37 pass plays to every run. That may not seem like such a bad idea for a team that is quarterbacked by the 2007 MVP, but there’s the little matter of a few torn ligaments and a lot of timing and accuracy problems that call into question that approach, at least as we stand today.

So far, opponents are throwing everything they have at the still-rehabbing and tentative Brady, sometimes sending as many as six or seven rushers with little fear they will pay a price for it. Opposing corners play tight to the line knowing there won’t be time for the Pats to throw it over their heads. Aside from five great minutes on opening night, the end result has been a formerly high-octane passing attack reduced to a comedy of errors that produces a puny 5.9 yards per pass attempt (25th in the league through last night).

The Pats have played right into their opponents’ hands.

I shouldn’t have to tell you what they need to do about that going forward. Instead, I’ll share a couple of pertinent facts about next weekend’s opponents, the Atlanta Falcons.

  • Last season, despite a Cinderella-style campaign that took them from 4-12 to 11-5, the Falcons ranked 25th in run defense by surrendering 127.5 yards per game; through two games in 2009, they are 19th (120 YPG).
  • In 2008, they allowed an average of 4.9 yards a carry; so far in 2009, they are surrendering 5.1.
  • Last Sunday, the Falcons lost first round pick Peria Jerry – their primary response to their defensive woes of 2008 – to a season ending knee injury.

Jeez, I wonder what the Patriots ought to do next Sunday.

E-mail Scott Benson at [email protected]


  1. sling it?

    • Someone that seems overlooked is that the Patriots offence has become very predictable. There were quite a few times during the Jets again, where I said to myself, they’ll run a draw, or a wide receiver screen or run off left tackle and sure enough they did. I am sure opposing defences are seeing that for themselves too. The Brady/O’Brien/Belichick/McDaniels(?) offence has become stale and lacking in explosiveness. The Patriots brains trust needs to shake up the playbook and play calling and keep defences off balance. Since the Giants superbowl loss the accepted formula for beating the Patriots is blitz Brady and keep a blanket on Moss. If you are good enough to do those well, you will win.

    • I was trying to be subtle, but you know me too well, Nopointe.

  2. You should answer your last question. I’m losing sleep thinking about it. Wait, is it even a question? My head hurts.

    • If you hold your computer upside down the answer appears on your screen.

      Mike, I put this post up around 1 this afternoon, and you responded at about 5 – why are you trying to sleep in the middle of the day? Are you a nightwatchman? I doubt it. If I’ve done something to disrupt your slothful ways, I’m glad.

  3. Chris Warner says:

    If only they had a platoon of running backs to pound the ball. Hmm…

  4. The Pats show no signs that they have the ability to run the ball……for you people who keep saying, run it!…Run it!…run it!…..This is what you’ll see…..1st down no gain…….2nd down 5 yard gain…..3rd down 3 yard gain….punt…..rinse and repeat

    • You mean the team that rushed for almost 2300 yards last season with the same personnel, Butch? The one that averaged 4 yards a carry on Sunday in 20 measly carries? Is that the one that has shown no ability to run the ball?

    • Running the ball takes repetition and patience. You can’t give up after a few two- or three-yard carries. And do you really think Brady throwing the ball 45 times a game is the answer?

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