Foxborough, Massachusetts - There's no denying that Tom Brady is the best quarterback of all-time and he's still one of the best in the league. I'm hesitant to say there are any chinks in his or the New England Patriots' armor right now. But man, I'm not afraid to say that the Patriots look terrible right now. They're making mental mistakes like they never used to, they're committing all sorts of penalties, they have no explosiveness on offense or any motivation on defense. It all feels very washed right now. And the Patriots have now fallen to the third seed in the AFC post-season and are very close to playing in the Wild Card round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
With the Houston Texans clicking on all cylinders and the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs jockeying for AFC West prominence, the Patriots could best finish with an 11-5 record on the season, meaning the number one seed is all but lost and the number two seed is increasingly out of reach. The Patriots could clinch the division with a win or a Miami Dolphins loss in the coming weeks, but even then, it's astounding to think that it's taken them this long to clinch.
After their collapse to lose to Miami last week on a lateral miracle play, the Patriots sputtered on offense and were trounced by the third string running back of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jaylen Samuels in the final score of 17-10. Stephen Gostkowski nailed a field goal in the third quarter, but the only other New England score came on a sixty-three yard pass from Brady to Chris Hogan.
Aside from these moments, the Patriots looked completely inept on the field, committing their most in game penalties in years. Brady also threw his first red zone interception since 2016. Obviously, it would be a mistake to ever write off the Patriots, as they've proven time and again. But it definitely seems like this year's post-season run is going to be a lot more effortful than in years past.