TAMPA -- The Patriots trail the Buccaneers 20-7 at the half, and there is one theme that stands out above the rest from this perspective: Too many hits on quarterback Tom Brady.
At times, the issue has been protection from the offensive line. Other times, it was a running back (Stevan Ridley) with a missed assignment in blitz pickup. And one could argue that Brady himself might have held on to the ball too long on a few plays.
Regardless, seeing No. 12 get knocked around like this has to have those in the New England region holding their breath.
This type of offensive performance brings back memories of some of the team's more painful losses in recent memory. When the passing attack is stymied, can the Patriots find another way to move the ball?
They haven't tonight on a consistent basis in the first half, a stretch in which the starters played throughout.
The good news?
It's preseason and none of this counts. We remember last year's third preseason game in Detroit as looking quite similar and that didn't have a major impact on the team's season.