By Gordon Weigers, news staff
Week one: A narrow win over the Arizona Cardinals thanks to a botched last-minute field goal led to a 23-21 victory for the Patriots.
Week two: Jimmy Garoppolo breaks out and breaks his glass shoulder as the Patriots survive a late comeback from the Miami Dolphins in a 31-24 win.
Week three: Explosive running from rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett and veteran running back LeGarrette Blount coupled with a strong defensive performance helped the Patriots down the dismal Houston Texans 27-0.
Week four: A deflating (pun intended, sue me) 16-0 shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills, New England’s first time being shut out at home since 1993.
Week five: The Return of the King.
The Deflategate fiasco is officially over and New England’s legendary quarterback is back on the field. The NFL Player’s Association has announced that quarterback Tom Brady’s suspension has ended and that they will not pursue any further appeals.
Brady is one of the all-time best players at his position and though the superstar is now 39 years old, his return to the Patriots could put this already 3-1 team over the top. His return will have an obvious impact on the team’s performance, but there are a few other things to consider surrounding his comeback.
First, Patriots fans owe this 3-1 start to head coach Bill Belichick. He took a virtually quarterback-less team and figured out a way to win three of the team’s first four games.
Many people did not know what to expect from Garoppolo in the first two games of the season because he had not seen any significant action in the NFL in his two previous years as Brady’s understudy. He really only saw time on the field when the Patriots were already lightyears ahead of their opponents on the scoreboard.
When he was thrust into the starting quarterback job, fans could see shades of Brady in his play. He was using his vision to find targets up and down the field, including two touchdown passes to wide receiver Danny Amendola and one to tight end Martellus Bennett in the week two victory over the Dolphins. That was when Belichick’s worst nightmare came true: Garoppolo took a huge hit, landing directly on his right shoulder, ending his game and eventually leading to him missing the next two games.
Enter Jacoby Brissett. Brissett did a serviceable job against Houston at home in week three, but it was clear that the rookie quarterback had a difficult time handling the NFL pressure in week four against Buffalo. In fairness to Brissett, he did have to play through a thumb injury that he sustained in the win over the Texans, and his playing saved the Patriots from the potentially scary sight of having wide receiver Julian Edelman at quarterback.
Now that we are heading into week five, the entire organization is letting out a collective sigh of relief knowing that their franchise cornerstone will be back on the field. Not only is Brady’s football team pumped about is return, but fantasy football owners of Brady finally have their weekly stud coming off of the virtual bench and taking the field.
Fantasy owners are licking their chops at the thought of Brady picking apart a weak Cleveland Browns team this Sunday at 1 p.m. at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, but more importantly, New England fans will finally get to see their golden boy back in his No. 12 jersey.