I honestly didn’t think I’d be writing one of these this week...but here we find ourselves.
I’m hoping that these losses sting a lot less than they used to in seasons past, but just in case you’re really down in the dumps this morning, here are five positives we can all take away from Sunday’s game.
No practice. For a highly disciplined, detail-oriented team, I’d wager that practicing and installing a gameplan is kind of important. Due to the shuffling of the schedule and players testing positive, the Patriots haven’t had more than two or three practices since September. So of course the timing is off and players aren’t on the same page. If there is ever any semblance of normalcy to this season and the team gets the opportunity to string together a few consecutive days of practice, I think they’ll be fine.
Offensive line issues. The tackle was in at guard. The guard was playing center. The other tackle went down and linemen were seeing their first ever NFL snap. The entire line was in shambles on Sunday, which leads to pressure, jittery feet, and poor timing on the release. The line, when healthy and everyone is where they’re supposed to be, is actually a very solid one. But it’s significantly harder than it seems to move one position to your left or switch from left tackle to right tackle, as the blocking schemes are different and require all kinds of different footwork. Credit to Denver for being as disruptive as they were, but once everyone lines back up where they’re supposed to, a lot of these issues will likely resolve themselves.
This happens every year. The Patriots put up a stinker against a team they probably should have beat? Nothing seemed to work and everyone played poorly? And they were still in it late with a chance to steal the win? I can’t help but feel like I’ve seen this before. Granted, this isn’t anything even close to resembling a normal season, but in an odd way it almost gives me comfort to know that even when things are as out of whack as it gets, we can still rely on the Pats to lay an absolute egg once a season and lose to a team they shouldn’t have lost to. Which...
Usually motivates the team. Losses like this tend to have a galvanizing effect for the Patriots. They usually lead to a great week of practice and a fairly strong performance the following week. This, of course, assumes that the Patriots will actually be allowed to practice and will actually have a game this Sunday. Because who the hell knows. And honestly...
Does anybody really even care? It’s odd watching the Patriots lose, or hearing that they lost, and just get on with my day. Patriots losses usually stick with me until at least Wednesday of the following week. But this year, I couldn’t care less about losses. Wins haven’t really been doing it for me either. I’ve found myself just enjoying each game as they come, each week of NFL football a sort of mini-season where I know things will likely look completely different in a few days. It’s kind of like swapping out a fantasy football season for just playing FanDuel every single week and then wiping the slate clean. And almost every football fan I’ve talked to feels the exact same way. People just seem to have bigger things to worry about than football these days. If you’re still as invested and emotionally involved as ever, more power to you, and to be honest I’m a little jealous of the passion. But this whole season has a very fat, very painful Who Cares zit right on its nose, and because of that each game is just kind of...there.