When it comes to the New England Patriots, we knew Brady would be back. We knew Gronk would be gone. And we knew that the team would probably still be good. But we didn’t certainly didn’t expect Week 1’s 33-3 blowout over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Granted they are great at manhandling the Steelers at home in Gillette Stadium, but the Pats rocked Ben Roethlisberger and company… hard. It reminded us a little too much of what happened last season. And no matter how much we try to underestimate New England, they keep coming back strong. So will the Patriots do it again? It’s still early, but here’s what we think after Week 1 of the regular season.
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Brady is Back
At 42 years old, Brady took the field on Sunday, and honestly, he looked great. He’s not ready for retirement and he’s proving it. We also know that the GOAT just signed a two-year contract extension with the team, so that means he plans on hanging with the Patriots until at least 2021. Does that also mean we’ll see a couple more Super Bowl victories before it’s all over with? According to Brady, “I’m ready to go this year and that’s really what matters. That’s where my focus is. It’s a unique situation I’m in. I’m in my 20th year with the same team. I’m 42 years old, so pretty much uncharted territory, I think, for everybody.”
Just to show you what a difference-maker the man is, the Patriots have won the AFC East 10 years in a row and 15 out of the past 16 years. The one time they lost the division was the season Brady injured his knee. Coincidence? We doubt it. Meanwhile, the rest of the AFC East – the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets – are still struggling to get their young quarterbacks to perform. (That’s Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Sam Darnold, respectively.)
If anything, Week 1’s game was a statement. Brady finished the night with 341 passing yards and three touchdowns.
All the Patriots Receivers
Josh Gordon is back too. And one of those three touchdowns – the one that started it all on Sunday – was completed by Gordon. Reinstated last month after a substance abuse violation, the wide receiver had a solid Week 1 with three receptions and 73 yards. Fans are waiting to see if he can stay out of trouble and put up record numbers (again) this season.
Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett had four receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, while Julian Edelman had 6 catches for 83 receiving yards. Dorsett doesn’t get quite as much attention as his compatriots, but with the addition of Antonio Brown threatening his playing time, this performance was an important one.
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What about Antonio Brown?
Just after being released by the Oakland Raiders for fighting with the GM, wide receiver Antonio Brown was signed by the Patriots. New England is likely looking to add the four-time All Pro to their roster alongside Gordon and Edelman in order to create a trio of big-time receivers. They recently traded Demaryius Thomas to the Jets, so there was room for one more. Whether or not Brown will actually get the chance to play for New England remains to be seen after recent rape allegations by a former trainer.
And the Defense?
Yup, they seem to have that under control too. The Pats defense held the Steelers to just 32 yards and one field goal last Sunday, effectively shutting down their offense and smothering any attempts at a touchdown. Even with Kyle Van Noy out for the birth of his child, they dominated the competition.
With or without Brown, the Patriots are still stacked. After a fond farewell to Gronk, they don’t seem to be missing a beat. What’s scarier? They’ll probably only get better from here. Bring on Week 2!
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