Patriots look to bounce back tonight against Bucs

Posted October 06, 2017

Brady. While the Patriots as a team have not been at their blistering best so far this season, "Tom Terrific" certainly has been - the 40-year-old evergreen quarterback leads the NFL with 1,399 passing yards through four games, ties for the league lead with 10 touchdown passes and ranks second with a 116.6 passer rating.

While their offense under the leadership of Tom Brady has still been able to produce, the reason why they have already lost half of their games is that their defense has been bad. On the other side of the ball, Dak Prescott is starting to make more errors, having been asked to do more on offense than a year ago when he was more of a game-manager.

The Patriots defense has made Alex Smith, Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton all look like All-Pro quarterbacks this season. Meanwhile, if it wasn't for the continued ineptitude of Nick Folk with three missed field goals, Tamps isn't even desperate late.

Brady opened the game with four straight completions before throwing his first interception of the season, overthrowing a wide-open Hogan in the middle of the field to end a streak of 264 pass attempts without an interception. In his first three games as the starter, Jacquizz Rodgers averaged 0.68 yards before a defender closed within one yard of him, the seventh-highest mark among backs with 25-plus carries (NFL average - 0.32).

Winston finished 26 of 45 with 334 yards and zero interceptions. They've allowed a league-worst 456.8 yards per game, while also yielding almost as many points (128) as the defending champs have scored (129). A hands-to-the-face penalty by C Evan Smith negated a Jameis Winston touchdown that would have put the Buccaneers within two in the fourth quarter.

After some fits and starts, Brady got them far enough downfield for Gostkowski to deliver his third field goal of the night, but on their next series, Brady was sacked and fumbled, giving Tampa the ball at its 47.

Odds: New England is favored by 5.5 points. Quarterback Jameis Winston has a lot weapons at his disposal and the Buccaneers best running back Doug Martin will play tonight after coming back from suspension. The Bucs forced a punt and then marched on an 11-play, 84-yard drive to give Folk an easy 31-yard field goal - but he missed that too!

ESPN and the NFL Network, each citing sources, reported the standout tight end will miss the game due to a thigh injury.

Patriots held off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to claim a 19-14 victory in National Football League action on Thursday.

Beating the team now might bring a little bite off of it's impact, but with Gronkowski or not, defeating the defending Super Bowl Champions is never a bad thing. Brady won his 186th regular-season game, tying him with Peyton Manning and Brett Favre atop the all-time list.