FOXBORO -- Issues on offense? The Patriots? Hardly.
Well, not this week. New England took advantage of the struggling Steelers, a team that limped into Gillette with a 2-5 record, and won 55-31. It was a classic performance for Tom Brady; he completed 23-of-33 passes for 432 yards, four touchdowns, and nary an interception.
Brady finished with a 151.8 passer rating -- nearly 30 points higher than his previous best this year.
“He’s a great quarterback," Danny Amendola nodded. "There’s no question about it and the good thing about Tom is that he gets the troops ready and he rallies everybody behind him and he’s a leader and that’s what makes Tom Brady good.”
Amendola didn't look so bad himself.
The receiver had his second 100-plus yard performance of the season, his first since Week 1, after catching four passes for 122 yards. That's good for a gaudy 30.5-yard average per catch.
His first reception was a first quarter 34-yard touchdown. Brady had stood in the pocket, waiting, when he looked to the left to see Amendola running up the seam. It was shocking how open the receiver was.
“I didn’t even notice it really, I was running," he shrugged. "I knew I had a chance [to score]. Tom did a great job of looking off the safety one of the touchdowns, so it was a play we’ve been working on all week and it worked out.”
Pittsburgh lost Amendola again in the second quarter. Brady was patiently working a first-and-10 from his own 33-yard line when he spotted his target, who was free-and-clear. The pass hit Amendola perfectly for a 57-yard catch-and-run.
These are plays New England wasn't completing in previous weeks.
"I think guys have been gradually kind of getting back into [it]," Brady noted. "Danny was out for a while and he's getting to the point where he’s full speed. [Tight end Rob Gronkowski] is getting better. I think the team overall just keeps making improvements and that’s the most important thing."
Amendola agreed Gronkowski's return has made a huge difference. The tight end missed the first six weeks of the regular season while recovering from offseason back and forearm surgeries. Now that the 6-6, 265-pound offensive terror is factored into the offense, the field has really opened up.
"Everybody tries to double-team him and do a lot of things to try and take him out of the game, so it’s on a lot of others guys to get the job done," Amendola pointed out. "I felt like offensively, we did some things to get the team moving, so it was a good day.”
New England's best, by far.