Sunday September 18th, 2016

Is Tom Brady a system quarterback? That’s certainly what Jimmy Garoppolo made him look like for almost six quarters between a dominating Week 1 and half of Week 2, as the second-year quarterback absolutely picked apart the Dolphins to the tune of three touchdowns and 234 yards in less than 30 minutes. But late in the first half, Garoppolo left the game for good with a shoulder injury, and knowing the Patriots, it could be some time until we have answers.

Garoppolo was incredible, though, and he initially raised some thoughts about how the Patriots should handle their quarterback situation moving forward. Did Garoppolo make himself high-priced trade bait? Should New England hold on to Garoppolo and hope he’s okay riding the bench for another season or two? Look, this is probably an overreaction—and the Dolphins have been getting fileted in New England for years regardless of quarterback—but Garoppolo played outstanding on Sunday, and based on nearly six quarters of play, I'm absolutely ready to grant him a starting spot in the NFL. (Ryan Tannehill hasn’t had many full games as good as Garoppolo’s first half today.)

Dolphins vs. Patriots: Complete Box Score

Of course, the Patriots may not need to be making any big decisions if Garoppolo’s injury is serious. So consider the brewing controversy squashed for now, especially with rookie Jacoby Brissett next up on the Pats’ depth chart. Brissett, a third-round pick out of North Carolina State, is certainly more of a project at this stage of his career, and you have to imagine Bill Belichick had no designs to play him this early in the season.

What does Garoppolo’s injury mean if it keeps him out for multiple games? New England is lucky he spotted the team a win and 24-point lead in Week 2, because the Pats will realistically be 2–2 at worst until Brady’s return, and quite possibly even better thanks to a favorable, home-heavy schedule. And as the Dolphins rather embarrassingly proved Sunday, it will take more than major changes at the most important position in sports to derail the Patriots’ season. 

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