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Patriots vs. Titans: Fan Notes from the Game

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Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots’ 34-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

NFL: New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, in the life of one Alec Shane, was a bit of a historic one.

For the first time this century, I missed a Patriots game. 19 years of week in, week out viewing has come to a close. It was a great streak, but it was bound to end eventually, I suppose.

It wasn’t intentional, believe me; I had some things to do in the morning, but I ended up getting held way longer than expected, and then some more stuff happened, and before you know it it was 4:45 and I hadn’t seen a single snap of Patriots football. The game wasn’t broadcast locally, so the DVR wasn’t an option. Hell, I didn’t even have time to follow the game on my phone, and only knew that things were looking bleak due to the plethora of “what the hell is wrong with the Patriots” texts I received throughout the day. Even now, as of this article, I haven’t seen a single game highlight or read a single stat. All I know is that the Pats got blown out, they didn’t score a single second half point, and there was apparently another throw to Tommy B that didn’t go so well.

On the plus side, today’s Fan Notes presents the opportunity to conduct a neat little experiment I have been thinking about for a while, an experiment that would only work coming off a Patriots loss. I currently have a theory that, while the Patriots can beat you many different ways, pretty much the same thing happens every time they drop a game. The story more or less writes itself when the Pats lose a game. So I’m writing today’s Notes completely blind, based on nothing more than what I’ve observed from past losses. I could be way off here, and if I am, by all means call me out in the comments section. But I have a feeling this won’t go as poorly as every single experiment I conducted in high school.

Mr. Pierce, if you’re reading this, I really am sorry. I’m sure your eyebrows have long since grown back.

  • If I had to guess, I’d say that Tennessee drove right down the field on the opening drive and scored like it was nothing. I’d also wager there were a few missed blocks and a blown coverage in there that surrendered a big play.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say that New England did nothing on their opening possession, because the interior of the offensive line was completely outmatched and the Titans rattled Brady early.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say the Titans ran the ball extremely well with stretch runs, which opened up the playaction and the underneath routes for Tenn to allow big chunk yards.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say that Tommy B, still rattled from the opening pressure, started zeroing in on Edelman and Gordon and missed wide open guys in the flat and the third reads. I’d also guess that he was inaccurate and visibly frustrated by halftime.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say that the TD drive that New England had was the only good drive of the entire game, but even on that drive they had to earn every inch.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say that Marcus Mariota looked like a Hall of Famer, and there was one play in particular - say maybe a 3rd and extra long where the Titans converted on the way to the end zone - that really broke the back of the defense.
  • If I had to guess, that Tommy B QB catch thing, whatever it was, was little more than a complete desperation move for an offense that just couldn’t get a single thing going.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say that Ghost shanked a pretty makeable field goal early on in the game, coming off a decent drive, and it just became one of those days.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say that Brady was sacked at least three times, and one of those sacks came on a third down when there was a receiver coming open near the chains, but one again, interior pressure came in and that was that.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say that Casey had a monster day and was right near Brady as he did quite a few of those falling backwards back shoulder throw things that either go nowhere or end up an interception.
  • Speaking of, I’m guessing one pick for Tommy B on the day.
  • And this is not a guess: Brady has lost a step this season. The eye test and the numbers prove it. And that’s totally fine; he’s still a top-tier QB and at 41, he’s earned it. Honestly, as far as I’m concerned he can play for the Patriots as long as he wants and even if he never completes another pass for the rest of his life, you’ll never hear me badmouth him.
  • If I had to guess, there was a point in the game where the Pats got a defensive stop, the momentum seemed to be shifting, but then the offense went three and out and ended up punting on like 4th and 26 because the playcall was WR screen for -3 yards, a draw play for no gain, a holding penalty, and then a sack.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say the Patriots are going into their by week plenty pissed off and are going to wreak holy hell on the Jets in a few weeks. The Jets got stomped by the Bills, I see, so they’re very vulnerable.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say that the Patriots have more or less lost the #1 seed in the AFC. Anything could happen between now and December, of course, but the reality is that the game at white hot Pittsburgh in a few weeks - the 2nd of two road games, the first of which being at Miami - will end up deciding the two seed.
  • If I had to guess, I’d say people are once again freaking out this morning about New England being 2-3 on the road and what a different defensive team they are away from Foxboro Stadium. And if I had to guess, those same people will be fine in a few weeks when the Patriots right the ship and take care of business.

So...how did I do?