The 2017 Patriots finally look worthy of Tom Brady

2:30 AM ET

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Even as a ghoulish fog swallowed this Super Bowl LI rematch whole, it was clear enough to see that the 2017 New England Patriots finally fielded a team worthy of having Tom Brady on it.

At 40 years old, an age demanding that the Patriots carry him (and not the other way around), Brady had a burden heavier than a grand piano on his back. New England’s defense had spent too much time this season doing a Frank Caliendo-esque impression of the defense that showed up for much of the first three quarters against the Atlanta Falcons last February in Houston. The Patriots had lost two of their first three home games for that reason, and they barely beat the Houston Texans to avoid going 0-for-3 at Gillette Stadium.

Patriots’ D is back along with Super Bowl hopes

The Patriots played what was easily their best defensive game of the season, shutting down the Falcons in a lopsided Super Bowl LI rematch.

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