Patriots offense misses Randy Moss

Randy Moss' departure might be hurting the New England Patriots more than their record would indicate.

The Patriots have gone 3-1 since they traded Moss. The Minnesota Vikings cut Moss less than four weeks after acquiring him, a move that seemed to confirm the Patriots were correct to unload him.

In an ESPN Insider column, Vince Verhei of Football Outsiders suggests the Patriots won those three games in spite of Moss' absence. Tom Brady's statistics indicate the offense misses the future Hall of Fame receiver.

Verhei breaks down Brady's numbers in four games with and four games without Moss. The differences are stark.

Brady's completion percentage is down 11.4 points. He's gaining almost a yard less per attempt. His passer rating is down 24.9 points. He has been sacked three more times.

Defenders can creep closer to the line of scrimmage without Moss to worry about. As a result, Brady's short-yardage passing has suffered. With Moss on the roster, Brady completed 75.5 percent of his short throws for 7.6 yards per attempt, but just 60.3 percent and 5.6 yards per attempt since.

Verhei writes: "The numbers all clearly show what's happening: No longer scared by the deep threat of Moss, opposing defenses are dedicating their resources to rushing the passer and covering the short zones. They'll live with the occasional big play to Deion Branch or Brandon Tate if it means they can dominate Wes Welker and the tight ends like this."