I really can not believe what has been written and said about the Patriots after the game last night. Trust me I get it, that lose sucks. However, does it mean the Patriots are done as a contender, absolutely not. If the Giants had not made that last drive we would be having a completely different conversation. The Patriots once again pulled out a late game win by the reigns of QB Tom Brady. Obviously this is not the case, but lets relax a bit.
The Defense is flawed, no kidding. However, it did make many plenty of stops right now, and was burnt the most by two boneheaded pass interference plays (Arringtons being less so). Also, Tom Brady's interceptions did not do a thing to help the defense out at all by giving the Giants extra possessions.
Lets get to those interceptions! All you need are historical trends to realize that Tom Brady does not make the mistakes he made that game often. It may be argued that he has two such performances so far in a span of 8 games, but I am personally willing to look more at a historical precedent, especially considering it is so consistent. We do not have those picks, we (probably) put up some more points. Plus there inability to score in the red zone at the half changed the whole complexion of the game. You go into the half feeling great, and potentially put up more points at the half and really get something going. Obviously this did not happen as the Giants took the reigns of the game, but eventually coughed it up and allowed the Patriots back in. Actually to say they coughed it up would be a lie because Arrington's pick singled handily saved the day (The Defense!?!?!?!).
Wait is that praise for the defense? To an extent. They are not the defensive unit of the early 2000s, but no defense ever will. That was a unique collection of veteran play makers that brought their own specific skills. They also applied their skills to an NFL that is VASTLY different than the NFL that we are watching today. Less than elite defensive units have made it to the superbowl and won (see New Orleans).
So what we are faced with is a three game span against three teams that are more than sufficient at rushing the QB. This creates an ideal situation to put up a front against Brady. Most teams will not be able to do what the Cowboys, Steelers, and Giants did. But note that we lost one close game, won one close game, and lost a blowout (score does not show this). However, I think the offenses lack of performance in the Steelers game is amplified by the fact that the Steelers time of possession was incredible (Major defensive debacle). The Patriots have shown at least enough identity to win games against adversity.
My main source of solace is the fact that I believe this team does have a positive identity. In 2009 I never believed in that team because they could never win against adversity, this team can. Also with Tom Brady at QB he can anytime go on a hot streak that would allow them to win these close games. Am I saying that they are surefire superbowl candidates? No. Are any other team in the AFC? Absolutely not. Lets just relax a bit and enjoy football like most fans of competitive franchises have the last decade, with a bit riding on every game, not simply blow outs. Of course if the Jets beat us next week were screwed!