LOSS IS NOT THE END
A rough start typically turns out well.
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.
Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels look on dejected last Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.