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5 things we can take away from Sunday night's loss to the Baltimore Ravens
I never understood streakers who keep their underwear on. The way I see it, if you're going to do something, you do it big and you do it right.
It's sad that the highlight of what should have been an epic Sunday night game between the Patriots and the Ravens was some jackass running around the field in his skivvies. It's even more sad that I'm now on my second straight week of looking for five positives to take away from a crazy Patriots loss surrounded by controversy. On the plus side, there actually were a lot of good things that the Pats did on Sunday night, and there were moments when both their offense and their defense looked fantastic. Any offensive or defensive prowess was obviously overshadowed by certain events that I won't get into here, unfortunately, and so it's really difficult to look at the game from a pure football standpoint and generate any real analysis.
That said, however, there are still some positives that we can take away from the game.
Expected Loss. Maybe not everyone expected the Patriots to lose this game, but I know a lot of people, yours truly included, had this game pegged as an L for months now. Granted, we all probably envisioned a different kind of Patriots loss, but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter how you lose. Expected losses are never as bad as upset losses, and it's still early enough in the season that we can rebound from this one and right the ship. The AFC East just got a lot weaker due to some unfortunate injuries, and New England is still in great shape going forward.
The return of Wes Welker. Obviously, there are going to be those who say that Welker only had a big day because Aaron Hernandez was out and Julian Edelman left the game with an injury. But I say nuts to that. Welker looked just like his old self, and in spite of some early drops, ended up having a huge day that is sure to reignite some of the chemistry between him and Tommy B. I have always been very strongly entrenched in the "Welker is just fine, this is a gameplan based offense and he'll have plenty of huge days" camp, and hopefully Sunday nights game signified Welker's return to a prominent role in this offense. The bottom line is that this team simply has too many weapons to struggle on a consistent basis, and I think that Welker - as always - will become the central cog in New England's passing attack. Sunday night may have been the beginning of that.
Patriots not outclassed. This loss would hurt a lot more if they had simply gotten beat by the Ravens, but that just isn't the case. I walked away from this one with absolutely no clue who the better team was on the day. The game made absolutely no sense, both teams got flagged left and right for some absolute nonsense, and the game was ultimately decided by a field goal that probably could have gone either way. Neither team's defense was as bad as they looked, as you were either in a cage fight where headlocks, elbows, and knees were legal (for all linemen and linebackers) or you were flagged for PI if you exhaled too loudly (the secondary), and neither team's offense was as good as they looked. This was simply a mess of a game in which the Patriots ended up on the losing end, and that's just the way it works. When a game could easily have gone either way, and neither team really had any control over the outcome, it's hard to take too many negatives away from the loss.
An Abundance of 1-2 teams. These first three weeks of the NFL have been about as bizarro world as it gets. The Cardinals are 3-0. The Saints are 0-3. The Packers are
2-1 1-2. And when the Saints and Packers play each other next week their records will either be 0-4 or 1-3. As for the rest of the league, pretty much everyone is 1-2 right now. There were times in the past where 1-2 would be cause for potential concern, but this season it doesn't seem like all that big a deal.
Bill Belichick is MAD. And I don't just mean mad. He is fuming. I'm talking red face, ears steaming, foot stomping, tire kicking, gibberish sputtering furious here. You never see Belichick express any kind of emotion, so when he can't even hold it together, you know that there is going to be trouble. And there's simply no way he isn't going to harness that emotion into getting the team ready for Buffalo this week. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at Patriots practice this week, because I smell a very serious statement game coming our way in a few days.