By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Doesn’t matter who was on the other side of the field. Tom Brady looked like Tom Brady again. And so did the Patriots offense.
It’s hard to gauge exactly how dangerous this group will be against a playoff opponent in two weeks, but the Patriots nonetheless went out on a high note and will play at least one more game at Gillette Stadium. And it can only help Brady to get an extra week of rest as he looks to build upon what was a resurgent afternoon in a 38-3 win over the New York Jets on Sunday in Foxborough.
Brady finished 24-for-33 (72.7 percent) for 250 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. His 133.8 passer rating was his best of the season. It was the 29th four-touchdown game of Brady’s career.
Yes, the Jets defense was most certainly out-of-sorts all day. Receivers routinely got wide open against a Jets secondary missing two backups at cornerback. Brady wasn’t spotless, needing a bad penalty by the Jets to give him a shot at his eventual third touchdown after missing a pair of open receivers. But other than those intermittent blips, Brady consistently found those open targets and capitalized on his best opportunities, and the receivers mostly executed perfectly. That may be all this offense needs to really get rolling.
Brady also spread the ball around as evenly as he has all season. He completed passes to seven different receivers, with no one getting more than Chris Hogan’s six. It should come as no surprise that Brady finished with his third-best completion percentage of the season.
It was a satisfying way for Brady to end an up-and-down 2018. He finished 375-for-570 (65.8 percent) 4,355 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, adding up to a 97.7 passer rating. He and the rest of the offense looked as efficient and precise as it has all year, just in time for the real football games to start as the calendar flips to 2019.
And by the way, even as his production took a slight dip, Brady just completed by far the best season ever for a 41-year-old starting quarterback. But he isn’t thinking about that too much.
“It just feels like I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done,” said Brady. “It took a great team effort today, and a lot of guys made a bunch of good plays. I just love being quarterback and I love playing here and I love winning.”
There’s been talk of the Patriots’ missing “identity” on offense. It’s hard to determine if they really need something so intangible. But it’s also hard to argue that they’ve been at their best any other way but the way it looked against the Jets, with Brady sharply and decisively distributing the ball to whoever’s open. Brady enters the playoffs in a groove and the receivers were mostly locked in, for a week anyway. That bodes well for an offense that’s had its share of struggles compared to its usual standard.
If the offense executes like it did on Sunday in January, it should make life tough for any opponent that comes into Gillette.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.