This going to sound strange after the Patriots put up 414 yards (333 through the air), held the ball for a season-high 36 minutes, 59 seconds and converted 47 percent of their third downs in a 21-13 victory over the Chargers. But for the New England offense, the bye couldn't come at a better time.
We're not even talking about the red-zone woes, which were obvious and have been lingering (we'll dig into that area early next week). Overall, this was probably the Patriots' — uh, how to term this — most disjointed performance of the season.
Again, it sounds strange, I know. The 414 total yards were the second-most this season. Their 27 first downs were the most of the season. Tom Brady's 317 net yards passing were the most since the win over the Texans.
And then you remember they ran a season-high (by far) 82 plays thanks to the safety early in the game, and it becomes a little more understandable. There's other anecdotal evidence too. The 5.0 average per play tied for the lowest of the season. Same with the 3.0 average per rush, and 6.3 yards per pass attempt.
And then there's this: Four of the Patriots' 82 plays were short-yardage situations (2 yards or less to go, goal to go), leaving 78 normal down and distance situations. Of those, 42 went for 3 yards or less.