Earlier in the week I noted that the acquisition of Deion Branch would certainly help the Patriots, but he “can’t do what Randy Moss can do on the field.”
Not that I was wrong in writing that, but Branch certainly proved in the Patriots’ 23-20 overtime win over the Ravens on Sunday that he can still be effective in the right offense.
Less than a week after he was acquired from Seattle for a mid-round pick, Branch caught nine passes for 98 yards and was targeted 12 times. He also caught passes of 23 and 10 yards in overtime to help New England kick a game-winning field goal after the two teams swapped possessions in the extra frame.
Tom Brady wasn’t particularly sharp, but he was at his best with the game on the line. He completed 27-of-44 passes for 292 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, but he led the Patriots on scoring drives late in the fourth and again in overtime to pick up a huge win over a Baltimore team that waxed them in the playoffs last year.
Without Moss, this is what you’re going to get out of Bill Belichick’s offense from here on out. They Pats will be balanced, they’re going to dink and dunk down the field and they’re going to take shots only when they present themselves. They won’t be the same high-scoring juggernaut they were three years ago when they went 16-0, but they beat a good Baltimore defense with this offensive approach on Sunday and at least for now, they showed that they don’t need Moss to be effective.