By Christopher Cohen, Sports Editor
Now that the first month of the NFL regular season is over, the New England Patriots are ready to welcome back four time MVP and Super Bowl Champion quarterback, Tom Brady.
After starting the 2016 campaign 3-1 without their franchise cornerstone, as well as several other critical contributors on both sides of the ball this season, the Patriots bewildered most of the league in their resilient effort Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals. It was then followed by exceptional performances against the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans.
In each of the contests, the Patriots managed to put twenty or more points on the board as they navigated their way to three victories to begin regular season play. Unfortunately, New England hosted division rival Buffalo for a Week 4 matchup, and the Bills delivered a devastating day that a rattled team shouldn’t get to dragged down about.
It all started with a botched kick return to open the game as cornerback Cyrus Jones hesitated to take a knee in the end-zone, or run the ball out beyond the offenses twenty-yard line. The momentary hesitation cost the defensive back crucial time that allowed the Bills kickoff unit to halt the Patriots positioning well within their own red-zone.
Not much went well for New England from the opening whistle as the teams undefeated season was silenced by a 16-0 shutout against the Bills and their new head coach borrowed from the Jets, Rex Ryan.
This was the first time that the Patriots have been shut out at home since a loss against the New York Jets in 1993, and this was also the first time a team was shut out the week after shutting a team out since the Miami Dolphins back in 2006. Oodles of obscure statistics are sure to belong to the historically elite New England athletic franchises.
After the game New England Head Coach Bill Belichick clearly emphasized his disapproval of his teams’ performance stating, “Nothing was good enough…at any phase of the game.”
Rookie starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett concurred with the tenured head coach saying, “We didn’t do enough.”
Brissett is a first year quarterback out of North Carolina State and fell to the Patriots in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Brissett was thrust into the Patriots leading role after backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury in the Week 2 victory against the Miami Dolphins.
In his first three games as a Patriots, Brissett has led New England to two victories, including a 27-0 shut out against the Houston Texans in which he threw 11 completions on 19 attempts for 103 yards. Brissett wouldn’t find the red zone through the air, as he’d find his way for his first career touchdown in the NFL among his eight rushing attempts for a game total of 48 yards.
Although New England was without their royal sentry, Patriots Nation was able to observe the potential of their rising heirs, Garoppolo and Brisset. In the three games he played Brissett threw 17 for 28 and 195 yards. Along with the rushing touchdown, Brissett has also contributed 60 yards on the ground.
Meanwhile, Garoppolo is in his third year out of Eastern Illinois, and after years of observation under Brady, he’s been ready for a chance with the reins.
Unfortunately, his time to shine was derailed by a shoulder injury in his second start against the Miami Dolphins. Before that Garoppolo managed to complete 42 passes on 59 attempts for 496 yards. Garoppolo threw four touchdowns without any interceptions in his shortened stay in the starting role.
After the tossing between the backups, New England is finally ready to bring back Tom Brady; as they move on from the bashing against Buffalo and prepare to travel to Cleveland and take on the Browns.
Last year Brady was phenomenal as he completed a career high 402 completions on his way to another AFC Championship.
Those completions totaled 4,770 yards, and 36 touchdowns as Brady through a season low (7) in interceptions since he threw just four back during the 2010 season.
Brady returns 39 years young for his sixteenth season in the NFL as he nears several significant milestones including completions (4,953), passing yards (58,028), and touchdowns (428).
Given his past seasons of play, and his concrete commitment to success, the NFL may just watch as Brady surpasses five thousand successful pass completions, and sixty thousand passing yards in the 2016-2017 NFL season.
If Father-Time favors the falling grace of a legend, we may just see Brady accumulate his 500th career touchdown in the NFL.
Only time will reveal the end of the story as Brady and the Patriots take on the Browns this Sunday at 1 p.m.