Patriots

Morning sports update: NFL analyst thinks the Patriots had the ‘worst receiving corps in the NFL’ in 2019

"The whole thing was just an exercise in when you have one receiving weapon and teams figure out how to take that guy away."

Tom Brady after the playoff loss to the Titans. Margaret Bowles / AP

The Bruins defeated the Canadiens on Wednesday night at TD Garden, 4-1. David Pastrnak tallied his fourth hat trick of the season.

Also on Wednesday, the Revolution won a preseason game against the Colorado Rapids, 3-1. New England’s season opener is set for Feb. 29 in Montreal against the Impact.

Tonight, the Celtics host the Clippers at 8 p.m.

Pro Football Focus analyst’s take on Tom Brady’s 2019 season: In the now-concluded 2019 season, Tom Brady threw for his lowest total of touchdowns (24) since 2006, and had his lowest completion percentage (60.8) since 2013.

Yet according to Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, the blame falls more on the shoulders of his receivers. In an immersive article, Monson broke down the struggles of the Patriots’ offense.

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“I think almost all of his struggles last year were because the Patriots had the worst receiving corps in the NFL,” Monson explained in a radio interview on Wednesday. “It kind of highlighted just how fragile that group has been that [Rob Gronkowski] retires and there’s just nobody to replace him. And they obviously tried. They took gambles on guys like Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown, and this year they didn’t pan out. All of those sort of low-price, high-reward gambles [failed], and they were left with Julian Edelman and nobody else.

“N’Keal Harry didn’t play for most of the season, and he was injured, their first-round rookie,” Monson noted. “And when he did play, he couldn’t separate to save his life. So the whole thing was just an exercise in when you have one receiving weapon and teams figure out how to take that guy away. Julian Edelman just started to get bracket covered all throughout the season, and at that point Brady just had nowhere to go with the ball.”

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Again, Monson juxtaposed the Patriots’ offense in previous seasons with how it was in 2019. The advanced metrics of Pro Football Focus’s told a story.

“[Brady] held onto the ball longer than he held onto it for the last 10 years, his highest average-time-to-throw this season,” Monson explained. “He was terrible under pressure because in years past, he would take a little bit of pressure knowing that he was buying time to get the ball to a receiver. This year he was pressured and there was still nowhere to go with the ball, so his grade under pressure was the lowest we’ve seen in the last 10 years.”

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The point of Monson’s article was to ultimately try and weigh how much the 42-year-old quarterback might have left. In that respect, it depends on the players around Brady.

“I honestly think if you surround him with receivers who can get open, you might not see the very, very best of Tom Brady, but he’s still well capable of elite play,”

Of course, with Brady set to test free agency for the first time in his career, it’s no guarantee that the six-time Super Bowl winner will be back in New England next season.

Trivia: David Pastrnak crossed the 40-goal threshold for the season on Wednesday. Other than Phil Esposito (who achieved the feat seven times), who is the only other Bruins player to score 40 goals in a season five times?

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(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was traded to the Bruins from the Rangers.

More from Boston.com:

Charlie McAvoy had some choice words for Hockey East officiating after watching the Beanpot:

New Red Sox pitcher Martin Perez on his approach to the game:

Radio host Chris Russo had a characteristically spirited discussion over baseball’s proposed playoff expansion:

On this day: In 1998, Austrian skier Hermann Maier suffered a horrific looking crash in the downhill at the Nagano Olympics. Charging down the steep course at 65 miles per hour, Maier mistimed a turn flew through the air, tumbling through multiple levels of safety fencing.

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Luckily, “the Hermanator” emerged relatively unscathed (a bruised left shoulder and a sprained right knee). Signaling to the television cameras that he was alright with typical nonchalance, the 25-year-old returned to racing just three days later in the Super-G. He won gold, and added another in the giant slalom.

His flying crash was later immortalized on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Daily highlight: Brad Marchand pulled off an assist Wednesday night that will undoubtedly reside in his montage of career highlights.

Trivia answer: Rick Middleton

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