Only in New England could you lose to one of the best teams the NFC has to offer, by one score at the last second on the goal line, in the best game of the NFL season so far, and have everyone talking on Monday about how the season is lost and it's all Bill Belichick's fault.
Sure, losing a close game like that stings, but it's not like New England got boat-raced. Sure, the defense isn't a sack machine like it was last year, when the Patriots finished second in the NFL in sacks. They're not doing great with interceptions either, ranking 24th in the NFL this year with 5.
So this week, the same as they have God knows how many times, football media is slobbering all over the idea that Belichick trading Jamie Collins a couple weeks ago is going to doom this team.
Here's the one that caught my attention: USA Today's spicy take that "Bill Belichick's bold moves have backfired and could submarine the Patriots season"
That sounds real bad! Here's what USA Today's Stephen Ruiz (hey, at least it's not Chris Chase this time) said to back up his take:
"It was bound to happen someday. Bill Belichick was eventually going to get one of these big personnel decisions wrong and set the New England Patriots back."
"After the Seattle Seahawks offensive line - one of the worst in the league for the last few seasons - absolutely dominated the Patriots front seven for 60 minutes in an illuminating 31-24 win, it had become clear Belichick has whiffed on those bold moves he's made over the last ten months."
Couple things about that: the Patriots actually sacked Russell Wilson three times, and all three of those came from the edge defender position (Trey Flowers had two sacks, Rob Ninkovich had one), so saying the Seattle offensive line "dominated the Patriots front seven for 60 minutes" is going a tad heavy on the hyperbole.
Also, it's not even just the Jamie Collins trade that's the problem, apparently - he goes from saying in the first sentence that Belichick gets "one of these big personnel decisions" wrong, and then by the time paragraph two rolls around, apparently now it's "those bold moves he's made over the last ten months". DEAR GOD IT'S GOTTEN WORSE SINCE YOU STARTED READING THIS ARTICLE 37 SECONDS AGO!
So, just to see if that was what everyone was thinking that doesn't write for Pats Pulpit, or possibly because I hate myself, I did a couple quick Google searches with a couple different versions of "Bill Belichick", "trades", "Jamie Collins", and "Chandler Jones".
Turns out, it is.
Here's Boston Magazine: "Bill Belichick's Bad Trades Could Torpedo Patriots Season"
We're really rolling with the submarine analogies, huh?
Showtime's Inside the NFL had former linebacker Bart Scott on and asked him about the Collins and Jones trades, and Bleacher Report wrote that Scott said "You have to ask yourself 'Did Bill Belichick outsmart himself letting go of Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones?'" and then goes on to say Bill views his players as "expendable".
Business Insider's take was titled "The Seahawks Exposed the Patriots Biggest Weakness", and concluded that:
"The Patriots may be able to hide their defense or improve it against a batch of weak opponents over the next seven weeks. However, the common refrain in sports is that defense wins championships. In the postseason, the Patriots won't be able to solely rely on their offense."
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe's take was "Pressure is on the Patriots to find a pass rush":
"Belichick spent three years assembling a talented young defense that finished in the top ten in yards and points allowed last year, and was second in the NFL in sacks (49). And he curiously has spent the last 10 months dismantling it."
The Florida Times-Union's headline was simply "Bill Belichick's decision to trade Jamie Collins stings in loss to Seahawks".
CSNNE's Tom Curran couldn't help but wonder if the pass rush is down and the turnovers weren't coming because of all the guys Belichick either dealt or sent packing:
"And this is where the 'chicken-egg' conversation begins.
Is it the scheme or the lack of personnel available to run a more aggressive scheme? Is it the work of the defensive coordinator and coaches? Or is it personnel decisions made that left them without guys who can create sacks, force fumbles and come up with picks?" Is it that guys like Easley and Collins weren't with the program, or were they either not suited for the program when they were hired or made jaded to the program over time? And are the decisions to move on or not pay playmakers prior to the season - or during, in Collins' case - informed by the business side of the equation to the detriment of the on-field product?"
Look, these types of moves never feel good, and they almost always result in the team slipping a little bit at first. Truthfully, it'd be weirder if the defense came out and wrecked shop than it would if they had a bad day, like they did Sunday night.
At the risk of sounding like a complete homer, though, calling the Patriots defense D.O.A. after just one game without Jamie Collins, against either the best or second-best team in the NFC is pushing all your chips in the middle of the table and betting against Bill Belichick and a talented coaching staff.
You know how that normally works out.