Week 1 without Brady was weird. I’ll admit waking up Sunday morning I had an uneasy feeling; something was missing. Knowing I was about to watch a Patriots game without TB12 under center because of Roger Goodell hurt my heart. Fast forward to game time, 8:30 in Connecticut. I had this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. Not a bad weird, kind of like something good was potentially about to happen. And then there he was… Jimmy Garoppolo warming up on the sidelines. I’ve been in love with Tom Brady my entire life but lemme tell ya, Jimmy isn’t too bad himself.
That’s completely beside the point though so let me get back on track…
All week leading up to this game, I heard nothing but negativity. “Without Brady, the Pats are nothing,” or, “I don’t think they’ll even score to be honest with you…” Blasphemy. I understand and agree that Tom is the ultimate leader of this team, and without him it’s just not the same. BUT how on earth could you say that a team coached by Bill Belichick, arguably one of the greatest coaches the league has ever seen, won’t score a single point? Even without Brady and Gronkowski, this offense has so many weapons. Not only are Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola back and healthy, but we finally get to see what Martellus Bennett, Chris Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell can do… And they did a lot.
I was a little concerned when I got the ESPN notification saying Gronk didn’t even travel this weekend, but Marty really made his presence known. He finished the day with 3 receptions going for a mere 14 yards, but what he did without the ball in his hands was even more impressive. The run game last season kind of sucked, there’s no other way to put it. 1/3 of the plays throughout the entire season were on the ground, lowest in the league. Last night, however, there was a little spark. Having Blount in the backfield was the best possible option with Dion Lewis being out for a few more weeks. If it wasn’t for the great blocking on the outside by Bennett, I don’t think a total of 106 rushing yards would’ve happened. He even picked up Chandler Jones and tossed him on his back on one play, which isn’t an easy thing to do… Him and Gronk on the field together is about to be deadly.
Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell came up big when needed, too. If you forgot, Mitchell was the one who dislocated his elbow in his first preseason game against the Saints. In the moment, it looked like his arm snapped in half, but luckily after a few weeks of rehab he was back on the field. He was targeted a few times, but finished his night with 2 catches going for 33 yards, one of those catches being a beautiful catch and run mid 3rd quarter. Hogan came up big too, being one of the two receivers Garoppolo targeted the most. Jimmy’s first TD pass of the season was an absolute dime to a wide open Chris Hogan up the sideline. First thing out of my mouth after that was, “That was a Brady throw.”
On the other side of the ball, I’m overall happy with how the defense played. A lot of pressure was put on Carson Palmer, and a few big runs/passes were let up but it wasn’t a bad night defensively. And honestly people what did you expect out of Logan Ryan covering Larry Fitzgerald? He’s one of the greatest to ever play the position, with unreal hands. Logan played him well, you can’t ask for more than that.
Now time to talk about Jimmy. Before I get ahead of myself with this let me just start by saying this… Everyone needs to relax with saying the Pats don’t need Tom Brady anymore. It was one game, a good game, but one game. I love Garoppolo, and am thrilled he had as well of a game as he did last night but people need to realize that Tom Brady is the greatest of all time, and this team wouldn’t be the same without him and his productivity over the past 15 or so years. This was hopefully a preview of the post-Brady era. Unfortunately that time is going to come, as heartbreaking as it sounds, but yes Tom will retire at some point. The game I watched last night may have been Jimmy G’s first NFL game, but you wouldn’t have known that if it hadn’t been broadcasted all week long.
Let’s take a look at the stats…
33 attempts with 24 completions going for a total of 264 yards, a completion percentage of 72% for those who aren’t good at quick math (like me.) One touchdown, zero interceptions, and only two sacks. On top of all of that, he rounds out the top 10 in QBR with a score of 73. IN HIS FIRST NFL START. Those are mid-season numbers for some quarterbacks, I won’t say who but I’m sure a few names popped in your head.
Long story short, Jimmy Garoppolo, Bill Belichick, and the rest of Pats Nation went into the desert looking to prove a point and I think we all picked up on it. Don’t sleep on the Patriots the first four games of the season. This win was a big F-you to the league, everyone knows that. They’re out to go 4-0 for Brady, and winning the one game I thought they would lose, they’re on the right track. Catch ya next Sunday up in Foxboro boys.
Until then, #FreeBrady and #FireGoodell.