I know what you’re thinking. This stinks. Losing to Fredo- it stinks. Letting our first 100 yrd rusher tear us up and embarrass us at the end of the game- it stinks. Letting Colt McCoy go for over two hundred yards and no turnovers- yeah, you get the point: it STINKS.
So how could this loss possibly be a blessing in disguise? What, if anything, can be gained by this mauling by our most hated former coordinator and our most hated adversary’s twin brother? Well, at first look, I’ll admit, the outlook is bleak. The 6-1 Pats were a throwback, getting it done with big days from little known players. Getting 5 straight games with a score from an undrafted BJGE. Having our rookies on both sides of the ball play in the Hoodie system like grizzled veterans. Overcoming in spite of all the adversity we’ve faced early in the season.
Well, when I was watching our defense get run over, our offense get blown up and made to look like amateurs, and our special teams look, well, “special” in a different sense, I wasn’t fully pissed off. I wasn’t foaming at the mouth. As I watch every minute tick by, and every phase of our beloved team subjugated, I was thinking to myself- this could not have come at a better time.
Bill Belichick coached teams are the ones who are never supposed to fall victims to the trap games. We’re too well coached, and we have our future HOFer QB keeping everyone in line. Yeah, maybe 2009 was an off season, but these 2010 Pats were supposed to symbolize a return to the old school. Well, yesterday looked like a return to High School.
And now I get to our blessing in disguise. First off, we’re still 6-2, tied for first in the AFC East, with a possible tiebreaker lost to the Jets. We still have Tom Brady leading the way. We still have the Hoodie, and he is going to be FIRED UP this week in practice. We have a murderer’s row left for the final 8 games in our season, and I don’t think a worse loss could have come at a better time. Say, for the sake of argument, that we beat Cleveland despite the 10 point initial deficit. We go 7-1, and we’re confident going to Pittsburgh, having the Colts come home, and then playing a pissed off Detroit. Then we get to a final stretch with all division games PLUS the resurgent Bears and up and down Packers. Make no mistake, with the lack of stars and the influx of new talent on our team, most people reading this were hoping that we were a 9-7 team this season. We were all forlorn after the pitiful ending to 2009. We lost Ty Warren, Leigh Bodden, and Kevin Faulk to the IR, and then shockingly traded away our star receiver. If you had told me all of that before my 9-7 prediction, I may’ve said we’re a sub-500 team. That even Tom Brady didn’t have the juice to pull our team through all of that.
But we’re 6-2. And we’re pissed off. You know this week is going to be hard at practice. Gronkowski played yesterday like he had been partying with Braylon Edwards for Friday and Saturday night. Our running backs could barely gain more than two yards at a time. Our new stud D-line let Mike Golic's favorite new “gunner” RB (If you didn’t listen to Mike and Mike this morning, Golic couldn’t stop oodling Peyton Hillis’ “guns”) put up a career high rushing total and 2 TDs, which is the best effort any back of Adrian Peterson, Cedric Benson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ray Rice, and Ronnie Brown’s caliber has had against us. Our passing D was abysmal, and our Offense, in every single phase, was worse. But we know that we aren’t that bad a team. Having every unit play equally as bad Sunday WAS the blessing in disguise. We eeked out 14 pts in a game that I consider the basement for the Pats talent. I don’t think we could’ve played worse if we tried. So now we have the big, bad, in your face Steelers coming at us, in Pittsburgh next week. Had we gone 3-1 on the road to this point, I may’ve though that we were due for a big time beating at Heinz field. If we were 7-1, I would’ve known that coaching alone wasn’t enough to push this young and promising team to 8-1 over the battle hardened Steelers. We might’ve been embarassed in that game, and the stench of our loss may’ve come home to Foxboro against the Colts. Now, I think we go into Pennsylvania and pull off what will be an upset. Every pundit will drop our names far, far down the board and say that we were paper tigers this season. Our record was pure luck. We reached the ceiling. But we all know that isn’t true. Our 2010 can play with a burning fire if they want to, and we saw none of that yesterday. We’re back to the drawing board, and I think a little creativity is going to be injected into our rear ends this week. Pat Chung is going to return and help plug some of our edge-setting issues. Logan Mankins is given another week to get re-integrated and into game shape. Tom Brady is going to be fired up and prove that he deserves to be named the best QB in the game. I think next week, we come out physical and make a statement. We AREN’T paper tigers. WE wear the AFC East crown until the Jets hoist the Lombardi Trophy.