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Tom Brady: Our strength is defense and special teams

A subdued Tom Brady answered questions after a quality road win Sunday, and his demeanor might have set off some alarm bells for those familiar with the Patriots.

No reason to worry, of course, as New England is 9-1 and in firm control of its future. But Brady is rightfully despondent, at least mildly, because his side of the ball just isn't doing that well.

The good news: He's well aware of it, and isn't afraid to acknowledge the reality.

"The strength of our team is our defense and special teams," Brady said during his Monday appearance on The Greg Hill Show. "So on offense, we just have to take advantage when we get opportunities, understand where our strengths lie and try to play to them. Not giving short fields. Not turning the ball over. Try to take advantage when we get into the red area and score touchdowns. That's kind of where our offense is, and that's kind of where our team is."

The impact of New England's rushing attack has shrunk significantly in the last month, with the Patriots failing to reach 100 yards in each of their past four games. Sunday marked a low not seen since Week 4, with the entire New England offense finishing with fewer than 300 yards and under 20 points for the second time in 2019.

Brady is at the center of the offensive struggles, of course, but he had a historically bad first half Sunday. Brady finished the first two quarters with 14 incompletions, the most in any first half of his entire career. Brady was shut out of the end zone through the air, too, though some might say teammate Julian Edelman vultured his passing touchdown when the former Kent State quarterback fired a pass to Phillip Dorsett for a score.

Sunday was the latest in a string of tough outings for the 42-year-old, who has a 7-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last seven games. In that same stretch, his passer rating has fallen significantly, from 116.5 to 80.6, including a 65.6 mark against teams that entered with a winning record. In those games, Brady has a 1-2 TD-INT ratio and is barely exceeding 200 yards per game (217).

He's on pace for his lowest passer rating since 2013.

A big part of the offensive struggles is the changing faces in the receiving corps. The Patriots have bid adieu to Josh Gordon while welcoming Mohamed Sanu into the fold via trade and first-round rookie N'Keal Harry this week after he missed their first nine games due to injury. And as we all know, there's little time to get acclimated in Week 11, and even less when working with the detail-obsessed Brady.

This doom and gloom will likely be repurposed into a massive source of motivation for the Patriots, of course, but in reality it isn't that serious. New England's defense is still phenomenal, holding Philadelphia to 10 points Sunday and standing tall when the Eagles had a chance to score late. It was the ninth game in which the Patriots held an opponent to 14 or fewer points, a mark that is five games better than the next-closest team. The record in that category is 13, set by the 1986 Bears.

The Patriots are still on pace to change the record books. They just clinched a winning season for the 19th consecutive year. And they're 9-1 or better through 10 games for the fourth time since 1990. The last three times that happened, the Patriots lost in the AFC Championship Game (2015), lost in the Super Bowl (2007) and won the Super Bowl (2004).

So don't all board the life boats at once. Everything is fine. Just don't expect a ton of points out of these Patriots.

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