Patriots

Titans manhandle punchless Patriots offense

Titans manhandle punchless Patriots offense

A bad mix of circumstances led to an ugly offensive performance by the Patriots on Sunday.

There were injuries – tight end Rob Gronkowski and right guard Shaq Mason didn’t play while tackles Marcus Cannon and Trent Brown were dinged during the game.

That led to spotty protection of Tom Brady who was unnerved by the pressure early and spent a lot of the day throwing wild and ducking for cover as he went 21 for 41 for 254 yards and no touchdown passes, his third straight game without a TD pass.

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE THE GAME

The Patriots running game was ineffective against Tennessee’s very solid front-seven which meant too many second and third-and-longs which only increased the pressure Brady was feeling.  

And then you had a defensive game plan hatched by a coordinator - Dean Pees - and head coach - Mike Vrabel - who knew exactly what could make life difficult for the Patriots.

Press at the line of scrimmage, attack sideways throws aggressively and limit opportunities for catch-and-run yards after dumpoff passes.

James White, who’s been such a weapon this season, caught five passes for 31 yards on eight targets. The Titans made a priority of limiting him by making sure that he had plenty of company every time he caught it.

Josh Gordon wound up being the most-frequently targeted player. Brady went to him 12 times but only completed four. One of those eight incompletions was a pure drop by Gordon in the first quarter. Another was a catchable ball that went through his hands. But there were other Brady misfires in his direction.

MORE HARD TRUTHS

In the second quarter, Brady – afforded great protection – directed Gordon across the end zone. But when he wound up to deliver the ball, it landed around the 10-yard line. There was also a sideline throw that saw Gordon slip as Brady delivered the ball. But even as Gordon straightened up, the ball wobbled well over his head and out of bounds. Gordon didn’t provide great returns on contested catches either.

But Sunday saw Brady at his most jittery. Knowing the easy throws short throws weren’t going to be there because of the press coverage and aggressiveness, Brady had to hold it longer to let things develop downfield and he clearly didn’t have confidence he was going to get the time he needed for that. The result? A poor day for accuracy and an impotent day throwing to everyone except for Julian Edelman, who wound up with nine catches on his 12 targets and 104 receiving yards.

Edelman left the game in the second half with a foot injury which – given his impact the past two weeks – is a big concern going forward.

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Mohamed Sanu seems fired up about trade to Tom Brady's Patriots

Mohamed Sanu seems fired up about trade to Tom Brady's Patriots

Mohamed Sanu has a lot of love for the Atlanta Falcons. But when you go from a 1-6 doormat to an undefeated Super Bowl contender, you can't help but celebrate.

The veteran wide receiver turned to Twitter on Tuesday morning to confirm reports he's being traded from the Falcons to the New England Patriots in exchange for a 2020 second-round draft pick.

First, Sanu tweeted his appreciation for Falcons owner Arthur Blank, head coach Dan Quinn and the rest of the organization where he spent the last three-plus seasons.

Then, Sanu turned his attention to his new employer with three simple letters.

That's a shout-out to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who captions many of his social media posts with the #LFG hashtag (short for "Let's F---ing Go!").

Brady responded minutes later and seems excited to get to work with his new weapon.

Sanu had a pretty great quarterback at his old job in Matt Ryan, but Brady is unparalleled, so it's not surprising the 30-year-old wideout can't wait to get started.

Sanu also will see some familiar faces in Foxboro, as the Rutgers alum overlapped with Devin and Jason McCourty and Duron Harmon while playing for the Scarlet Knights.

The McCourty twins gave Sanu a warm welcome Tuesday morning on Twitter.

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Updated Patriots wide receiver depth chart after Mohamed Sanu trade

Updated Patriots wide receiver depth chart after Mohamed Sanu trade

Tom Brady played with a "B Team" of pass-catchers Monday night and still helped the New England Patriots erase the New York Jets 33-0.

A day later, that "B Team" is getting an upgrade.

The Patriots reportedly are acquiring wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick. With 377 receptions and 4,300 yards under his belt over seven-plus seasons, Sanu gives Brady a dependable target he desperately needs.

In fact, Brady could have a full complement of weapons in a matter of weeks if Josh Gordon returns from injury and rookie N'Keal Harry can integrate into the offense when he becomes eligible to play in Week 9.

Here's a look at the Patriots' updated wide receiver depth chart with Sanu in the fold:

Julian Edelman
Josh Gordon
Mohamed Sanu
Phillip Dorsett
N'Keal Harry (eligible to return Week 9)
Jakobi Meyers
Gunner Olszewski

Not too shabby.

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Sanu also gives New England a third big-body wideout along with the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Gordon and the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Harry.

If Gordon is able to return from a hamstring injury, the Patriots can roll out this lineup (sans Harry) next Sunday in a home game against the Cleveland Browns.

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