Well, we’ve all been there. Tom Brady, in particular, had quite a few of them. But on Sunday, Patriots fans got another reminder of Brady’s greatness. On a day when the team needed to make a statement, the quarterback got the team off to a franchise-record start, throwing for four touchdowns and reaching the end zone on each of his first six possessions, and he did it without his go-to receiver Julian Edelman.  He’s a big reason why the Patriots are still in the thick of the AFC playoff race, and fans will not be happy when he’s put out on injured reserve.  The Patriots have been able to win without Edelman, but he’s always been their best receiver, and

Wait…what?

If you closely followed the Jets and Patriots game this week, you may have noticed something strange. Well, not so strange, but unusual. Here’s the deal: starting quarterback Tom Brady was sacked six times, including three in the first quarter, while backup Drew Bledsoe was only sacked once. Now, that’s not as many as you’d expect, and it’s definitely not a trend, but it is a bit strange. Why is it that Brady gets so little pressure, while Bledsoe is sacked so often? Is Bledsoe really playing better than he was in the past?

Even the most talented players in the NFL need the right opportunity to shine. The difference between an outsider and a superstar in the NFL may have to do with playing time or schedule choice. Even the greatest players in history, like Tom Brady, needed the right opportunity to launch their careers. Mack Jones, the young quarterback to replace Brady in New England, is also starting his career behind a seasoned veteran. His luck may have run out sooner than Brady’s.

Tom Brady got his first chance with the New England Patriots after starter Drew Bledsoe was injured

Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe | Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images word-image-2754 When a QB is selected with the number 199 in the NFL Draft, he usually doesn’t get the starting job right away. Brady is no exception. The former Michigan Wolverine was behind Bledsoe in his rookie season, completing just three passes and one for six yards. He started the second year as a reserve, but that all changed in Week 2 when the Patriots played the New York Jets. With the score at 10-3 and five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Bledsoe jumped out of the pocket to the right. Just as he was about to leave the field, Mo Lewis of the Jets hit the Pats’ starter. After the collision, Bledsoe suffered a collapsed lung, a concussion and internal bleeding. Brady eventually replaced Bledsoe, although the senior QB played one more series after his injury. The team loses the game 0-2, but finishes the season 11-3 with Brady at the helm. In the infamous Tuck Rule game, New England beat the Oakland Raiders and then defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl. In the big game, the Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams and the Greatest Show on Turf offense, giving Brady his first Super Bowl and beginning his journey to GOAT status.

Mack Jones could get a chance due to Cam Newton’s injury

Cam Newton is expected to miss practice with a hand injury he suffered yesterday, according to a source. There are great opportunities ahead for Mac Jones. The Patriots will host four OTAs next week, followed by minicamp from the 14th to the 16th. June. – Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) June 5, 2021 Former Alabama Crimson guard Tide Jones was selected 184 spots ahead of Brady, but like Brady, Bill Belichick is not content with handing the keys of the offense to a rookie. Jones will likely start the year as the second player on the list. Incumbent Cam Newton is the presumptive #1 starter for the season, with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer also on the roster. The team will participate in the offseason OTAs in June, and reports on Jones’ performance have been mostly positive. Because of Newton’s hand injury, he’ll likely get more reps during the rest of camp. According to ESPN, the former Carolina Panthers QB’s injury is minor, but the organization doesn’t want to take any chances with the veteran. He probably won’t be back for training camp. That gives Jones (and young Stidham, the No. 133 pick in 2019) a better chance to impress coaches and earn his spot in training camp.

NFL history could have looked a lot different if Bledsoe hadn’t gotten injured and given Brady a chance

Lewis Bledsoe’s move may be one of the most important in NFL history. After winning the Super Bowl, the Patriots traded Bledsoe to the Buffalo Bills. He played 70 more games for Buffalo and the Dallas Cowboys, with a 35-35 record, before retiring in 2007. What happened to Brady after that is much better known. In his 21 career seasons, Brady accounted for 79,204 yards and 581 touchdowns, reached 14 Pro Bowls and won six Super Bowls with the Patriots and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s impossible to know what would have happened if Bledsoe hadn’t been injured, but all possibilities are admirable. Brady could have replaced Bledsoe later in the season due to injury or ineffectiveness, but then New England might have been too far away from the playoffs to make them, and Brady would not have won his first Super Bowl. There’s also the possibility that Brady never got his chance in New England. His contract as a rookie would have ended after next season and he could have signed with any other team. Bills fans can dream of a young free agent Brady instead of Bledsoe. The last possibility is that Brady never gets his chance. He would have been picked in the sixth round, and the only reason we will remember him is because he is the answer to the trivia sports question: Who shared time with QB Drew Henson at Michigan? These scenarios are interesting to consider, but they didn’t happen because Brady got his chance and took it with both hands. Time will tell if Jones can do the same. All statistics are from Pro Football Reference EPILOGUE: Why Bill Belichick is letting New England Patriots rookie Mac Jones wear number 50

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