I'm not going to lie; I seriously debated not even writing this edition of my "Coping With Loss" series. After all, this was something of a unique situation, and one we as Patriots fans haven't had the opportunity to enjoy for some time. However, rules are rules, and a loss is a loss. So, with that, here are five positives we can all take away from the Buffalo game.
No injuries. I could drop the mic and walk off the stage right now, because this is literally the only thing that matters about Sunday's game. None of my other points matter in the slightest. Nate Solder is someone to monitor, but for the most part nobody got hurt and the Patriots can go into the divisional game (which will be against Baltimore, you heard it here first) as healthy as they have been all season. All you can ask for in January is a healthy group of guys, and we have that. That means we walk away from Week 17 huge winners.
Great bulletin board material. The media is going to have a field day with this. Poor O-line play, inability to get anything going in the first half, offensive inconsistencies, numerous issues that need to be fixed if the Patriots have any hope of making a deep playoff run...and the best thing about it is that we'll have two whole weeks to hear about it. If we learned anything this year, it's that when the media knocks the Patriots, they answer and answer big. So let's keep the hate train rolling.
Coaching motivation. This game may have been meaningless, but that won't stop Bill Belichick from replaying game film from Sunday's game on a loop. Looking unstoppable on Sunday would have been OK in terms of momentum, but playing like you don't care and giving Belichick plenty of reason to ream you out and get yourselves back up for the playoffs can go a lot farther than a Week 17 win.
Who cares? Is anybody out there really upset about this loss? I can't imagine that there are. Obviously wins are always better than losses, but this game felt more like a preseason matchup than the actual preseason did. I consider myself one of the more neurotic, paranoid, pessimistic, reactionary Patriots fans that ever lived, and I didn't even bat an eyelash over this L. I sincerely hope that everyone else is in the same boat. It's time to start breaking down playoff matchups.
No seriously...who cares? Let the Bills and their fans have this. They put together nine wins and won at Gillette; do you know how big a deal that is for them? I know it doesn't matter to us, but the Bills haven't made the playoffs in over a decade and are looking for signs that things are on the upswing for 2015. Taking that away from them is a lousy thing to do. We have bigger fish to fry, and we've already moved on. Let's make a deep postseason run.