Tom Brady and the Patriots: Can They Really Be NFL's Best without Randy Moss?

Patrick LanguzziContributor IIIDecember 27, 2010

MIAMI - OCTOBER 04:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 and Randy Moss of the New England Patriots sit on the sidelines  against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 4, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Moss was often criticized by the media for not playing his all and not being a team player. He was said to have been in Brady's ear about not being thrown to enough, and when he wasn't, he would take plays off.

Jets corner back Darrelle Revis was quoted as saying, "In the second half, you could tell he was putting his foot on the brake. I mean, everybody knows that's Randy. Sometimes he plays 100 percent, sometimes he doesn't." 

On October 6, 2010 Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots traded wide receiver Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2011 third round draft choice and New England's seventh round draft pick in 2012.

Belichick was criticized by the media for the move, and headlines in Boston read: Randy Moss Trade, Another Blown Call by Bill Belichick. "Belichick always loves to talk about having to get better. Today, he got worse, or at least his team did."

That was the sentiment almost 12 weeks ago. Since then, the Patriots have acquired wide receiver Deion Branch from the Seattle Seahawks to help fill Moss's role and have never looked back.

It's obvious by watching Brady and the Patriots that they are a much more cohesive team now, and Brady seems more relaxed in the pocket, utilizing all his open receivers. Whether it's Danny Woodhead out of the backfield, tight ends Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski or even the obvious Wes Welker and new addition Deion Branch, it really doesn't matter.

So consider these post-Moss statistics: In the 11 games following Moss's departure, the Patriots have gone 10-1, clinching the AFC East seed and a first round bye with home field throughout the playoffs. 

Deion Branch, 706 yards and five touchdowns; Wes Welker, 631 yards and four touchdowns; Aaron Hernandez, 323 yards and six touchdowns; Rob Gronkowski, 382 yards and seven touchdowns; Danny Woodhead, 316 receiving yards; Brandon Tate, 215 yards and two touchdowns; Alge Crumpler, one touchdown.

They also now have the number one offense in the NFL, averaging 32.0 points per game, and Brady has gone on to throw 25 touchdowns to only two interceptions and set the all time record for pass attempts (319 and counting) without an interception throughout this 11 game run. 

Since Randy Moss left the New England Patriots after Week 4 of the NFL season, he's all but fallen off the face of the earth. Moss has caught only 18 balls for 236 yards and two touchdowns and played for two additional teams for a combined record of 2-9. I'm willing to bet Moss regrets his Patriots departure.

With regards to Bill Belichick, it's funny how much winning seems to change everything, especially with the media. Belichick is now being praised in New England for his 2010 team being one of his finest coaching jobs ever. I guess the ultimate test will be to see how far they actually go.