The Patriots have scored 79 points in their last six quarters— averaging almost two touchdowns per quarter. It may be time to say this team has finally found its offensive rhythm.
He was so successful because he mixed in the no huddle, used difficult snap counts (which helped the backs) and spread the ball to six different receivers. He ended the game with a total of 22 completions on 33 attempts.
For the first time all season, the receivers were making plays for Brady. He was heaving the ball up to Gronkowski in double coverage, and Gronkowski was coming down with catches. He had nine catches on ten targets, including a touchdown. Also, Dobson had two touchdown receptions, one an 81-yard catch, and the other came off a nice back shoulder catch to stay in bounds for the touchdown. Gronkowski, and surprisingly Dobson have clearly become Brady’s go-to receivers.
Danny Amendola also caught all four balls thrown in his direction, including a 34-yard touchdown after a seam route. He looked healthy in this game and should continue to get a lot more looks from Brady in the coming weeks.
The running backs once again had a great performance. They had a total of almost 200 rushing yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. They ran with authority on the early downs, picking up yards in bunches. This opened up the play action for the Patriots to help them total 33 first downs. Most of those first downs came on second down. Overall the backs were dominant in the red zone (minus the one stop the Steelers had on the goal line, despite the penalty) and finished the game with three touchdowns.
The defense was not terrific. Roethlisberger had over 400 yards passing, extrapolating the “mismatch” on Jerico Cotchery, who had 7 catches on 8 attempts and three touchdowns. They did manage to come up with some keys sacks and force 3 turnovers to keep the Steelers offense off the field. Overall, there were certainly some defensive struggles the Patriots will have to address, but on a day where the offense put up 55 points, those struggles were overshadowed.
Sunday’s game was definitely an encouraging sign for Patriots fans. The Steeler’s 12 ranked defense (after the game, higher before) had no answer for New England’s previously anemic offense. If the Patriots can continue their offensive success, they should be expected to win against every team they play.