LOSS IS NOT THE END

A rough start typ­i­cally turns out well.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - MATT BURKE @burke_metro matthew.burke@metro.us

The nar­ra­tive sur­round­ing the Pa­tri­ots in Bos­ton right now hasn’t been this neg­a­tive since the pre­vi­ous time the Kansas City Chiefs lit up the Sons of Belichick.

This past week­end there were cries of: “The de­fense sucks,” “This might be the be­gin­ning of the end for Brady,” and “Belichick was out­coached,” among other hy­per­bole.

“The de­fense sucks”deal may be the most le­git claim, as Stephon Gil­more looked over­matched in his Pa­tri­ots de­but, Mal­colm But­ler con­tin­ued his ugly play dat­ing back to the start of train­ing camp, and the front seven was to­tally out­classed.

The 42 points the Pats gave up to the Chiefs this past Thurs­day was the most points they’ve al­lowed since they lost to the Sea­hawks at Gil­lette last Novem­ber. Seat­tle won that con­test, 31-24, as Rus­sell Wil­son hit on 25-of-37 passes for three touch­downs, had no picks and owned a 124.6 passer rat­ing. Alex Smith’s stat line was very sim­i­lar this past Thurs­day, as he hit on 28-of-35 for 368 yards and had four touch­downs, no picks and a sparkling 148.6 passer rat­ing.

The dif­fer­ence was that Smith not only had suc­cess hit­ting re­ceivers on five and 10-yard pat­terns but also deep. Wil­son’s long­est com­ple­tion in the Seat­tle game went for 39 yards while Smith’s long went for 79.

Gotta think that Belichick will elim­i­nate the Pats’ sus­cep­ti­bil­ity for the big play im­me­di­ately. Op­pos­ing quar­ter­backs’ suc­cess in the short game, how­ever, will be more

Sweet pain Sil­ver lin­ing

No one on the Pa­tri­ots played par­tic­u­larly great last Thurs­day night, but one pos­i­tive sign for New Eng­land was the play of Danny Amen­dola.

There was a time when it was be­lieved that the Pats brought Amen­dola in to take Ju­lian Edel­man’s job – he was held in that high of re­gard in 2013 – so with Edel­man now out of the year, Amen­dola is the prover­bial “next guy up.”

In the sea­son open­ing loss, Amen­dola had six catches on seven tar­gets for 100 yards. It took Edel­man un­til De­cem­ber to record a 100-yard game in 2016, so for one game at least – Amen­dola filled No. 11’s shoes.

Amen­dola’s sta­tus for next week against New Or­leans is up in the air, as he left the Chiefs game early with a pos­si­ble con­cus­sion. Want to feel bet­ter? How’s this: Ev­ery time the Pats have lost their sea­son open­ing game since Brady be­came the start­ing quar­ter­back, they wound up win­ning the Su­per Bowl that year.

There is some­thing to be said for a hum­bling de­feat early in the sea­son in foot­ball, as the head coach can al­ways look back and tell a tal­ented team, “hey look guys, you’re not THAT good. Re­mem­ber this?”

The most re­cent ex­am­ple of a slow Pa­tri­ots start that made them bet­ter down the stretch came in the 2014 sea­son, when they lost 33-20 at Mi­ami in Week 1, strug­gled at dif­fi­cult for the Pats to rec­tify. home with the then-lowly Raiders at home in Week 3, and then were blown out by Kansas City in Week 4.

It’s far bet­ter to be good late than early in pro foot­ball, and the Pa­tri­ots have enough of a track record to be­lieve they’ll fig­ure this thing out in the com­ing weeks.

GETTY IM­AGES

Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels look on de­jected last Thurs­day night at Gil­lette Sta­dium.

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