by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
September 22, 2009

I think I have a way to help Tom Brady get through his early season struggles.

Take the ball away from him.

As noted yesterday, the Patriots have leaned heavily on the pass through the first eight quarters of the season – calling 2.37 pass plays to every run. That may not seem like such a bad idea for a team that is quarterbacked by the 2007 MVP, but there’s the little matter of a few torn ligaments and a lot of timing and accuracy problems that call into question that approach, at least as we stand today.

So far, opponents are throwing everything they have at the still-rehabbing and tentative Brady, sometimes sending as many as six or seven rushers with little fear they will pay a price for it. Opposing corners play tight to the line knowing there won’t be time for the Pats to throw it over their heads. Aside from five great minutes on opening night, the end result has been a formerly high-octane passing attack reduced to a comedy of errors that produces a puny 5.9 yards per pass attempt (25th in the league through last night).

The Pats have played right into their opponents’ hands.

I shouldn’t have to tell you what they need to do about that going forward. Instead, I’ll share a couple of pertinent facts about next weekend’s opponents, the Atlanta Falcons.

  • Last season, despite a Cinderella-style campaign that took them from 4-12 to 11-5, the Falcons ranked 25th in run defense by surrendering 127.5 yards per game; through two games in 2009, they are 19th (120 YPG).
  • In 2008, they allowed an average of 4.9 yards a carry; so far in 2009, they are surrendering 5.1.
  • Last Sunday, the Falcons lost first round pick Peria Jerry – their primary response to their defensive woes of 2008 – to a season ending knee injury.

Jeez, I wonder what the Patriots ought to do next Sunday.

E-mail Scott Benson at