"There's definitely a level of critiquing that you do when you do lose that you don't really do when you win", Brady said after the game. With the loss of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola' injury last week, New England's aerial attack is out of order.
In fact, Brady actually made some personal history in the New England Patriots'36-20 blowout, setting career highs with 177 yards and three touchdown passes in the first quarter. They're now without their top two receivers: Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. The 21-yard catch put him over the 100-yard mark for the game. But the Patriots responded by scoring 10 points in the final 4:47 of the half and put the game away.
The Saints need help at pass rusher and cornerback, and so few teams would even consider parting ways with players at those premium positions. In all, six Patriots not named Brady rushed the ball, and nine Patriots had at least one reception. There was some thought of this happening against teams with taller receivers. For Brady, it turns into an extra unfair advantage. The most impressive of the three was the pass to Gronkowski.
In the backfield, there was no more mystery.
The injury is the latest setback for the dominating tight end. Brady and his receivers are still working out the kinks.
And this was against a Vikings offense last week who were still searching for an identity up until that game. U2 also played riffs of "The Saints Are Coming" - which they'd also performed with Green Day at the dome's '06 reopening - as Saints-style fleur-de-lis symbols scrolled up the expansive screen behind the stage. It's only Week 2 and health is already a big issue for the Patriots.
The league this year agreed to pay as much as $1 billion to former players who have been diagnosed with post-concussion symptoms that could include the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Running back Dion Lewis, kept at a bargain price, remains a backup ace in the hole, but if there's yet another twist of health, he'll be plugged right in and be a more unsafe cog.
The Patriots offense is deep, and more than fine. And only one of them was healthy.