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Patriots need Brady to return to form

About the Author

Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Nov. 10, 2010 @ 6:37 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Each Wednesday throughout the season we'll identify one player, coach or area of the team that is most under the microscope. This week, QB Tom Brady is the choice.

If we learned anything from last week's 34-14 drubbing at the hand of the Browns, it's that if this team is going to make the playoffs and win the division, it's going to be on the arm of Tom Brady. We probably knew that, but the defense had been making just enough plays that Brady hadn't needed big games since the bye week.

Now, Brady needs to return to the form we saw the first four games, when his accuracy was better than 70 percent in three of them.

What the offense has showed is how valuable Randy Moss was. Wes Welker isn't getting open, Deion Branch has done nothing since his debut, Brandon Tate has one big catch and that leaves TE Aaron Hernandez and RB Danny Woodhead as Brady's top targets.

Brady finds a way to make everyone around him better. He brought a team without Moss and without a top running back to a 6-1 mark, but last week's offensive sputtering and his inaccuracy throwing the ball are cause for concern. Earlier in the season, the offense scored at will, converting third downs handily and punishing opponents.

It's on Brady's arm to bring that back. He needs to find a way to get the intermediate passing game going and dink and dunk against teams downfield. The Steelers bring a ferocious defense, and Sunday night won't be easy, but Brady seems to thrive when he's under the national spotlight. He needs to make Tate a legitimate deep threat to keep defenses honest, he needs to get Welker the ball in space and most importantly he needs to take pressure off the defense.  

Bill Belichick can only do so much with a young defense that is ranked 29th against the pass. Teams are going to score in bunches against the Patriots, and it's on Brady to match them score for score.

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