Just when you think the New England Patriots have finally found their stride on offense, something happens that restores doubt. The Patriots have played 10 games this season, winning low-scoring grinders and high-scoring shootouts. Through it all, the Patriots have failed to establish an offensive identity.
Do the Patriots want to strike fear into the hearts of defensive coordinators with a vertical passing game? Do they want to force defenses to respect the width of the field with a spread attack? Do they want to be balanced, or do they want to put the ball in the hands of their future Hall of Fame quarterback?
Any good offense wants to be able to do all of those things, for obvious reasons, but good teams have a bread-and-butter that they can call on when they're in a bind. The Patriots don't look like they have that right now.
On paper, the Patriots offense had one of its best games of the season despite losing to the Carolina Panthers, 24-20. In reality, they played just about as well as you could possibly have played while still leaving at least six points on the field.