NFL.COM The biggest takeaway from Week 5: If you’re going to play an underdog, go with a kicker.
We said it.
And we still believe it.
The Patriots are 1-1 after beating the Broncos in Denver on Sunday.
This was one of the best teams we’ve seen play this season, a group that featured the best quarterback in the league in Tom Brady and arguably the best pass rusher in Dont’a Hightower.
Brady, who led the NFL in passing yards, threw for 434 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another, and the Patriots also had two touchdown passes from Julian Edelman.
(Edelman also had a sack.)
Denver was the league’s top rushing defense, holding the No. 1 rushing offense to just 185 yards per game, including a whopping 158 rushing yards by Edelman in the second half.
Brady threw for just three touchdowns in the first half and threw five interceptions.
His accuracy was a question mark, as was his ability to get the ball to the receivers he wanted.
But Brady had two of the top five quarterback rating performances in the NFL (93.4) and his overall quarterback rating was an outstanding 71.8, which ranked fifth among active quarterbacks.
With Brady, you can’t have too many quarterbacks, so this is a great team for them to be a part of.
It’s not easy to win this way.
And you can see how it goes from here.
If they don’t have Tom Brady, this team isn’t a good bet.
But it’s still possible.
Tom Brady led the Patriots to an 11-2 record and a playoff berth, and his offense was one that had been one of our favorites to win.
Tom, a native of Massachusetts, is an old school passer, who was a four-time Super Bowl champion.
He’s not the most athletic of passers, but he was a legitimate No. 2 option.
He was a terrific runner and had a great arm.
He has a great sense of where to go and a good feel for the defense.
His pass rush has been elite in the past and this was a team that struggled to get pressure on him in Denver.
We have to be ready to take advantage of his strengths, which are all there.
But we also have to make sure that we take advantage if he doesn’t play well.
We’re going in there knowing that we have to beat them, which is what we’re going out there to do.
— The Patriots won 10 games this season with the best defense in football.
But they were also forced to win eight games with the worst offense in the AFC.
That’s not going to change in Week 6.
If you want to beat a team like Denver, you have to come out of the gates with a good offense.
You need a lot of guys on the field, and if you can put together a good passing game with Brady, Edelman and Hightowers, you’ll be able to do it.
Brady’s a great passer, but his pass rush was not as effective as it could have been.
Denver has the league No. 5 rushing offense and a No. 3 receiving offense, but Brady’s pass protection was terrible.
He allowed just 18 pressures and was sacked four times, and Denver’s pass rush also was atrocious, allowing just one sack and just four hurries.
If Brady can’t go, Edler will be the team’s best player, but we’re not worried about it.
Edelman was great in the opener, but when the Patriots were facing a 3-0 deficit and were trailing late in the fourth quarter, he didn’t get much going.
He played just eight snaps and finished with one yard.
We know that Edelman can get the football, but if he can’t play, we’re just going to try to win it.
It doesn’t matter how much he played or how good he is, we need a pass rush.
— Tom Brady’s passer rating of 91.4 ranked fifth in the AFL this season.
The Denver defense was No. 8 in the NFC.
They also were No. 4 in the ACC with a defensive rating of 109.4.
Brady was sacked eight times, including three times on the quarterback.
He also had five interceptions and had three fumbles recovered.
Brady finished the game with 3,083 passing yards.
He threw eight touchdown passes and one interception, and he had six touchdown passes, two interceptions and one fumble.
He completed 62.5 percent of his passes and had an 84.6 passer rating.
Brady had just three touchdown passes all year.
— It’s hard to argue with the Patriots defense this season as one of their best.
The defense held the Broncos to a combined of 165 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
The Broncos also allowed just one rushing touchdown, but their rushing defense was also stout against the run,