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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Shawne Merriman's hilarious Father's Day tweet will make Patriots fans smile

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USA TODAY Sports

Shawne Merriman's hilarious Father's Day tweet will make Patriots fans smile

Shawne Merriman is no fan of the New England Patriots, but his son's allegiances seems to differ a bit.

The former Los Angeles Chargers star posted a Father's Day tweet Sunday with a photo of his son getting ready to buy a Tom Brady Patriots jersey with a Super Bowl LI patch, and the three-time Pro Bowler's reaction is priceless. 

A Brady jersey probably is the last piece of NFL apparel that Merriman would want his son to buy, given his history with the Patriots.

Merriman still hasn't forgotten about the Patriots coming into San Diego and defeating the 14-2 Chargers in the 2006 AFC Divisional Round. It was the Chargers' best team in a long time, and after the Patriots won in dramatic fashion, some New England players mocked Merriman's sack dance during the on-field celebrations. Chargers players weren't happy at all.

But hey, props to Merriman's son, he knows greatness when he sees it. And he's not alone, evidenced by Brady once again leading all NFL players in royalties from sales of items including jerseys.

PFF's biggest Patriots nemesis might surprise you>>>

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Tom Brady is taking notes from Raptors' massive championship parade

Tom Brady is taking notes from Raptors' massive championship parade

The Raptors saw an estimated 1.5 million people flood the streets of Toronto on Wednesday for the team's first NBA championship parade.

Tom Brady's reaction? Challenge accepted.

Here's the New England Patriots quarterback's simple yet effective tweet upon seeing the massive turnout in Toronto:

Brady knows a thing or two about highly-attended championship parades: Roughly 1.5 million people came out in Boston just four months ago to watch the Patriots celebrate their sixth Super Bowl title.

That attendance number was a record for the city's many Patriots title parades, but it appears the Raptors matched that Monday.

So, Brady and Co. will just have to win a seventh championship to raise the bar yet again next February.

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