This should be said first and foremost: The Patriots' defense and special teams won them the game, 16-10, against the Bills in Buffalo. That makes it a great and satisfying team win, especially since the Patriots were put to the mat on the road in a second half that could have gone either way on one snap of the ball.
That's good stuff.
So yes, the Patriots won the game to improve to 4-0. That's great. Bill Belichick should be chipper about it, as he was after the game. The team he's in charge of emerged with a tough road victory. That's what he gets paid for.
But that doesn't mean that Josh McDaniels, Tom Brady or anybody else on the offensive side should be thrilled about their performance. They are paid to put points on the board and to gain yards, and they largely failed at that over the course of three-plus hours.
And, while we're being honest, this wasn't a one-game thing, either. Since the Patriots took a 20-0 lead against the Jets with touchdowns on their first three possessions, the Patriots have had 22 possessions. They've held the ball for longer than five plays just four times (18 percent) and produced 20 points in about seven quarters of action. I brought it up earlier in the week, but I was just being a Negative Nancy — not, you know, pointing out real issues before they became a real issue that almost cost them Sunday's game.
But here's the thing about the Patriots' recent offensive struggles.
It's OK to point out the Jets, once they got their coverage busts out of their system, and the Bills had really good plans against Brady and the Patriots. It's OK to say that Bills coach Sean McDermott knows how to slow Brady down. Did you think we pointed out that Brady had thrown more picks (four) than touchdowns (three) and posted an 84.5 rating against McDermott (Brady was 0-1, 45.9 on Sunday) for no reason? Everyone knew Brady and the Patriots were going to have trouble putting up points up in Buffalo going into this game. So what's with the widespread panic after it happened?
And here's the other thing. It's OK to point out the Patriots weren't very good on Sunday without invoking the name of Antonio Brown, or trashing the likes of Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon and the offensive line (which actually wasn't that bad).
You know who else was part of Brady's five-game personal skid against the Bills? A healthy Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Brandin Cooks. Danny Amendola. Chris Hogan. Among others. It's like the Patriots have never had bad offense and still been successful. It's happened every year since this glorious run started.
Anybody throwing a temper tantrum about Brown, or pointing out how the Patriots could have used him in this game is just being lazy or purposely obtuse.
Brown wouldn't have made a difference in this game.
You know why? Because the Patriots' offense — the whole lot of them — weren't any good in this game. Every single unit had massive execution failures, and that includes Brady as well — probably more than any of them.
And it's OK to say Brady wasn't good in a game and just leave it at that. There doesn't have to be a reason. You don't have to make an excuse for him and whine about his lack of weapons.
I'm sorry, did the lack of Brown at receiver force Brady to throw the type of terrible end zone pick — which took crucial points off the board — that we'd roast other, dumb quarterbacks (like the truly terrible Josh Allen) for throwing? Come on, that was a Mark Sanchez special dressed up in the TB12 uniform. Just call a spade a spade.
Brady just messed up. He may be the GOAT, but that's doesn't mean he's infallible, especially at 42 when he continues to show a declining lack of patience for standing in the pocket and taking a shot from a pass rusher.
Say it with me: Tom Brady was not good on Sunday against the Bills.
The sky did not fall. That doesn't mean the Patriots can't win another Super Bowl. That doesn't mean he isn't any good.
He just had a bad day at the office, one that throws questionable objects at you at times. And that's OK.
What were the failures, which have to be cleaned up by McDaniels, Dante Scarnecchia, et al?
Well, the list is long and undistinguished.