Edelman is still the catalyst

AP photo/Nick WassNew England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman runs against the Washington Redskins during the second half of Sunday’s win at Washington.

Tom Brady appeared to have bouts of depression during and after the New England Patriots “ugly” win in Buffalo.

The ugly part was Brady and the offense. For whatever reasons — injuries, lack of weapons, offensive line woes, Brady’s decision-making or some combo of all the above — it fell on Brady’s shoulders, which is why “good” quarterbacks get paid $25 million per season.

Well, the Patriots appeared to be back in Buffalo in the first half. Nothing appeared to have changed. The defense was epic and the offense was Bengals-esque.

And then, almost magically, the Patriots were a well-oiled machine again as the second half opened.

Sony Michel ran the ball four out of the first five plays, setting up a Brady rollout and beauty of a pass to Brandon Bolden for a 29-yard score and a 19-7 advantage.

Then on the next possession, after a no-gainer for Michel, Brady connected with Julian Edelman for the play of the game, a crossing-route over the middle for 15 yards.

Edelman fought off a hold by Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and beat him across the middle on a great lead pass by Brady. While it only got the Patriots to their own 27, it was the first time in a while that Brady looked like Brady and Edelman looked like Edelman.

Edelman, on the same drive, added a 31-yard catch and run play, setting up Michel’s 14-yard touchdown run on the next play and 26-7 lead.

Game time.

That’s happened a lot with Edelman. For about a half dozen years he has been at the epicenter with Brady in lots of big games and big plays. Isn’t that what Edelman is all about, finishing off games, instigating the winning?

Brady has issues with the talent around him, particularly at wide receiver. With Phillip Dorsett hurting his hamstring in Washington, and Josh Gordon still nursing something and at 50 percent, Brady needed Edelman in Washington.

He got him.

Brady also got the Patriots running game, finally, and all of a sudden the offensive line protection got better.

But the best news from the D.C. area was Edelman appeared healthy and helped remind us, spectacularly I might add, that Brady needs support. He needs receivers to get some separation.

Edelman’s footwork is elite. His ability to stop and break in another direction is better or equal to every receiver not named Antonio Brown.

While most people were giddy over the possible Brady-Brown marriage, the guy who might’ve made out best was Edelman. His workload would have been less, allowing him to take over third downs.

But that luxury was a dream. Reality is Edelman is Brady’s go-to guy, like he’s been so often during Part II of the Patriots Dynasty.

It means he will have to take the punishment, get up, and do it again.

Edelman’s worth should never be under-appreciated. Yesterday was another in a long list of examples.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@salemnews.com

Recommended for you