As the weather begins to take a turn for the cold and the leaves begin to change color, New England Patriot Football Fans are on cloud nine entering Week Six of the 2015 NFL season. After an offseason filled with anxiety and tension as the drama that was Deflategate unraveled, the Patriots entered the season with a full, healthy roster led by their longtime face of the franchise, Tom Brady.
Entering Week One, many questions about the upcoming season still remained unanswered. Would the injury-prone tight end, Rob Gronkowski, and troublesome but talented, LaGarrette Blount, be able to stay active enough to be efficient for the Pats? Amidst the controversy surrounding Deflategate, could the Patriots stay focused on playing the game? While dealing with the stress from the suspension of Tom Brady and then the relief of the suspension being overturned, the Patriots also had to try and prepare for the season playing the first four games without Brady.
The opening game of the Pats’ season was fast-approaching with a game versus the dangerous Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 10 (the opening game of the NFL season as well). The stage was set. Whether you liked Tom Brady or absolutely hated him, he was going to be in the game. The media and news were ready to critique Brady and the Pats’ comeback from Deflategate from all different angles. Despite winning the Super Bowl against the Seahawks the previous year, it was up to the team from Massachusetts to prove themselves to the country all over again.
Looking back on the Pats’ first four games in five weeks (with a bye coming in Week Four), it is certainly safe to say that the Patriots have excelled in the spotlight. They have stunned fans with an incredible display of play and preparedness, despite the offseason drama that plagued them during the spring and summer. At the conclusion of Week Five, the Patriots are second in the NFL with an incredible average of 37.2 points per game, first in the league in yards per game (423.8 yds/game) and passing yards per game (331.2 yds/game). They have scored almost double the touchdowns their opponents have scored this year (17 to 9) and have a plus five turnover ratio against their opponents. Their most recent victory, a 30-6 win against the Dallas Cowboys, is a perfect testament to how their season is going; a high-functioning, fine-tuned offense backed by a solid defense (currently ranked eighth in the league in points allowed per game). Despite effective play from multiple players throughout the opening weeks, the play of one player in particular- this being none other than Tom Brady-has had by far the biggest impact on the Pats’ early success.
Brady has had a remarkable year so far, compiling a 121.5 passer rating (first in the NFL) while tossing 11 touchdowns opposed by zero interceptions. He ranks among the top five in passing yards, pass completion percentage, yards per attempt and yards per game and has completed a 59 yard pass for his high completion on the season. Aside from his outstanding statistics, Brady has maintained his role as a leader on a fairly young team and has expressed impressive focus and determination, despite the Deflategate hype that continues to surround him on a weekly basis. Brady’s play has not just benefitted him, but has also made a star out of running back Dion Lewis, who is second on the team in receptions and third in receiving yards. Furthermore, Lewis has established himself as a qualified back next to LaGarrate Blount, who has already totaled over 150 yards on the ground and three touchdowns since returning from his one-game suspension to start off the year. Brady’s stellar play has also worked hand in hand with the play of his wide receivers this year, which have been capitalizing on Brady’s season and, as a result, have compiled solid campaigns so far. Brady’s go-to man, Julian Edelman, a 29 year old out of Kent State, leads the team in receptions and receiving yards (34 and 399, respectively). The Patriots top end-zone target, 26 year old tight end, Rob Gronkowski, is also contributing nicely to the Brady-led New England offense, ranking third on the team in receptions, second in receiving yards and first in touchdowns with four. New England’s healthy, balanced attack on offense so far this season has fans ecstatic and critiques shaking their heads in disbelief as the AFC East is once again being controlled by the boys from Foxborough.
This week (Week Six) is guaranteed to be one of the most interesting games of the season for the Pats as they match up against the Indianapolis Colts for the first time since the infamous Deflategate fiasco from last season. Even though there will surely be tension between the two teams returning from last year and fans in Indianapolis will surely not be happy to see Tom Brady step on their field this Sunday, Brady’s mindset will stay the same as always. “We’re gonna do what we do every week, we’re going to prepare as hard as we can… I think I’ve tried to be very consistent over the course of my career on my attention to detail, my level-headedness, my poise. I think that’s been a real positive for me,” Tom Brady says to CSNNE.com. From what we’ve seen from him so far, that mentality has definitely been working out as we march into Week Six.