Handful of Missed Opportunities Bury Brissett, Patriots

What makes Tom Brady is so special in the Patriots offense is how well his strengths fit its strengths.

Brady is tremendous at both reading defenses quickly and getting rid of the ball fast.

Jacoby Brissett plays a much different style.

Brissett is more comfortable using his athleticism to extend plays and wait for receivers to uncover downfield.

The problem is that the Patriots don’t have receivers that typically get open deep.

On Sunday, Brissett continuously made two errors that will lead to this style offense being shut out.

First, he held on to the ball for too long trying to wait for receivers to uncover downfield, and second, he was unable to identify what the defense was showing pre-snap and didn’t take advantage of some of the easy throws.

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Here’s maybe the most talked about play of the game. The fumble in the red zone in the second quarter. Edelman is actually open initially, but Brissett was locked on to Martellus Bennett at the top of the screen running a wheel route. Bennett didn’t uncover at first so Brissett looked to run. Bennett actually does open up late in the play because the Bills defender in coverage falls down. Brissett decides to take it himself despite two Bills linebackers in the area, and the check down to Blount open. Blount doesn’t have a ton of space, but enough to potentially pick up the first down. In short, Brissett had two pass options open on this play, but didn’t pull the trigger resulting in the turnover.

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Another play where Brissett decides where he’s going with the ball early in the down. The Bills line up in man coverage across the board with Stephon Gillmore on Edelman at the bottom of the screen, and safety Aaron Williams at the top with Bennett. Bennett burns Williams, but Brissett is set on throwing the ball to Edelman down the sideline. That’s a battle Edelman has no chance of winning against the physical, athletic Gillmore who’s a very good corner. Brissett continuously took low-percentage shots down the field, something the Patriots offense is not meant for.

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This is the play that Brissett would really like to have back. Brissett steps up in the pocket to buy some more time, and both Amendola and Hogan are wide open. Despite having time to set his feet and throw, Brissett sails the ball over Amendola’s head. The Bills defense played extremely well on Sunday and these are the types of plays where the quarterback has to make the defense pay for the breakdown.

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The last play of the third quarter. The Bills play off coverage on Gronk and Bennett at the bottom and top of the screen. Brissett doesn’t recognize it pre-snap and looks to target Julian Edelman in the middle of the field. Edelman is being bracketed by a linebacker and safety on this play, but Brissett doesn’t come off of him, and misses a wide open Gronk at the top of the screen. A staple of the Patriots offense is those quick comeback routes to Gronkowski on the outside when teams play off of him. That’s a throw that Brady identifies pre-snap and just takes what the defense is giving him. Brissett tries to hold on to the ball to let Edelman open up, and ends up having to scramble for a four yard gain.

The Bills did themselves a massive favor when they got out to an early lead on Sunday.

They forced the Patriots to let Jacoby Brissett throw the ball downfield and stage a comeback.

Brissett wasn’t up to the task because he was playing outside of the Patriots offense.

Brissett targeted the wrong portions of the field, locked on to receivers, and didn’t take some of the easy throws the defense was giving him.

On the bright side, many of these throws are throws that going forward Tom Brady will be making.

Brady has made a living off of doing exactly what the play call and defense dictates, and that’s why he has had so much success.