Tom Brady’s elite precision and accuracy couldn’t save the New England Patriots‘ offense, and Cam Newton’s ability to change a team’s run game hasn't saved the unit in 2020, either. In a post-Gronk world, New England's offense has been awful since the start of the 2019 season. Now, after a disappointing loss to the Drew Lock-led Broncos, the Patriots are staring down the barrel of potentially missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008 — and maybe even a losing season.
Without any receiving talent on the outside and a 33-year-old Julian Edelman in the slot, the 2019 Patriots were carried by a once-in-a-lifetime defense to another AFC East title, only to be ousted by the Tennessee Titans in their first playoff game. That team’s offensive expected points added per play figure in the regular season was the worst for the franchise since at least 2006. In fact, it was their first year where they didn’t create positive expected points added per play over the course of a season.
Some blamed the descent on an aging Tom Brady, whose accuracy fell to career-low numbers. Only 61% of his passes were deemed accurate, down 7 percentage points from 2018. The biggest culprit in the low accuracy numbers, especially considering how accurate Brady has been in 2020 with his new team, might have been how scared he was to throw to his cast of receivers.