Through two games, the Patriots have passed on approximately 67 percent of their offensive snaps, rendering their running game somewhat obsolete, except in situations such as yesterday's fourth quarter in which BenJarvus Green-Ellis scampered into the end zone from 16 yards out to seal New England's 35-21 win over San Diego.
A cynic would suggest the Patriots' pass-happy approach will come back to haunt them in the cold-weather months, but we're a long way from December and January, and while the weather is still manageable, New England is red-hot offensively.
Quarterback Tom Brady has surpassed 400 passing yards in each of the first two games, including Sunday's 423-yard effort that included three touchdown passes against a San Diego defense ranked No. 1 in the league in 2010. Yesterday's performance was actually better than his 517-yard outburst in the opener against Miami; he was more efficient and, more important, mistake-free, navigating through 40 pass attempts without throwing an interception.
On the flip side, the defense bent but refused to break, allowing 470 total yards while simultaneously forcing four turnovers -- three deep within New England territory. The mistakes proved too costly for the Chargers to overcome, dropping their record to 1-1, but if naysayers are looking for a crack in New England's armor, they could start with the defense.
Philip Rivers finished 29-of-40 for 378 yards and two touchdowns. He moved the ball effortlessly at times in the fourth quarter, yet a costly interception at the line of scrimmage by Vince Wilfork at the end of the first half helped the Patriots widen their lead to 20-7 at the break. Despite two touchdown passes to Vincent Jackson in the fourth quarter -- he finished with 172 yards on 10 catches -- the Chargers ran out of miracles in the end.
What we've learned thus far about the Patriots is you can stand toe-to-toe with them at your own risk, for it's unlikely Brady will be the one to make the first mistake. Right now, the offense is clicking on all cylinders, even if it's a bit one-dimensional.
"Offensive football is totally complementary and as a quarterback, you're only as able to be as good as every guy around you -- from the offensive line protecting you like they did yesterday to the running backs running, to the receivers and tight ends getting in the right position to catch the ball and making a great catch," Brady said. "All the credit is spread to every single guy on offense. That's where it goes, that's where it belongs, and that's where it will be around here."
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