FOXBORO -- Seven weeks into the season, and the Patriots are still dealing with a bit of an identity crisis on offense.
At points, they have focused on exploiting the advantages they have with their tight ends. They blew away the Broncos with their no-huddle. They ran all over the Bills. They threw like crazy in their loss to the Seahawks. And in the period of a couple of weeks early in the season, Wes Welker went from an afterthought to one of the league's most productive receivers.
Against the Jets it was a bit of a mix, and the Patriots got mixed results. They scored just one touchdown after the first quarter and watched a 10-point lead vanish as they punted on five of six possessions from the second quarter to the fourth.
They came through with two clutch drives to finish their AFC East rivals, though: At the end of the fourth quarter, Brady went 4-of-5 passing for 54 yards to set up Stephen Gostkowski's game-tying field goal. In overtime, they drove 53-yards for what proved to be the game-winning 48-yard field goal from Gostkowski.
Asked to describe his offense's identity after beating the Jets 26-23 in overtime on Sunday, Brady paused.
"It's tough to say," he said. "It's tough to say."
No team has scored more points, gained more yards or run more plays from scrimmage than the Patriots in the last two months, and their diversity helps make their offense so prolific. But as their losses this season have shown, there hasn't been one thing -- one set, one style -- that they've been able to turn to consistently in critical situations to put teams away.
"I dont know," Brady said when asked if he was concerned about his team's unclear identity.
"I'm sure if you asked teams and they said 'Yes,' it would probably change over the next nine weeks anyway. I think you continue to go do the things you're doing well. Youd love to figure those things out in spring camps, but it really doesn't play that way. You have some teams that you play and situations that you face and players that are healthy or not healthy, and schemes that you run. And you boil it down to what you're good at. It's only October."
It's early yet, and there's still time to figure things out. But no matter the identity of the offense, whatever shape it takes, Brady will be at its core and ultimately will be the deciding factor in its success. That much is clear, and the Jets were reminded of that fact on Sunday.
"He'll probably go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game," Rex Ryan said of Brady. "We're not the first team he's ever done that against. You have to give him credit, obviously. They did a good job, got a lot of weapons, some of their guys got open. Were we at our best? Maybe not, I wish we had a few things back, but you have to give them credit. They made the plays at the end, and in particular Brady."