The Patriots' defense is bad. We knew the passing defense was bad, but the Browns showed the league that the Patriots aren't too good against the run, either.
But we knew the defense was the team's Achilles' heel. That's not a surprise. For the Patriots to win ballgames, they needed to make just enough plays on defense while the offense scored at will. And it had worked since the bye week, but after Sunday's disaster it's time for the offense to get things worked out if this team wants to win the AFC East.
The questions surrounding the team when they traded Randy Moss were: How will the offense score points? How will Wes Welker be productive? Who will be the deep threat?
Three wins in a row over the Ravens, Chargers and Vikings silenced those concerns. As long as the Patriots are winning, who cares? We knew the offense hadn't been as explosive, but after a dismal performance on Sunday that highlighted the porous defense, a closer look tells us the offense has not been very good since the Moss trade.
In the four games with Moss, Brady's throwing accuracy exceeded 70 percent three times. In the four games since the trade, his highest accuracy posted in a game has been 61.4 percent, and he plummeted to 52.8 percent on Sunday, his lowest accuracy rate since Week 15 of last season.
WR Wes Welker's numbers have gone down, WR Deion Branch has done little since his big game upon his return to New England, and WR Brandon Tate had one good game and three other games where he made little-to-no impact. Only TE Aaron Hernandez seems to still be productive on offense. RB-WR Danny Woodhead has been a revelation on offense, but he should be a safety valve for Brady, not his only reliable target to get open.
Receivers are not finding openings in the short field for Brady like they did when Moss attracted attention flying downfield. The running game came alive in the second half of the Vikings game, but other than that, it has not been effective.
This team will not make the playoffs because of their defense, so the offense — specifically the passing game — needs to put this team on its shoulders. The schedule is not by any means easy the rest of the way, especially with a vulnerable defense. Brady and crew need to start putting up some points to regain respect and stay atop the standings.