This might be the easiest one of these I’ve ever written.
I always hope to go as long as possible without writing a Coping With Loss article, and amazingly I’ve never once had to write more than five in a single season, but when you look back on Sunday night’s game, I didn’t have too much trouble pulling five positives we can all take away from the experience — with a bonus sixth positive thrown in for good measure.
Expected loss. I don’t think I’m alone in having pegged this game as an L the second the schedule was released. On the road at Seattle is one of the toughest games there is, empty stadium or not, and I for one can say I saw this loss coming months ago. It’s never all that bad when you expect the team to lose and then they lose.
The Patriots could have won. They didn’t win, and that’s the reality…but they had the ball on the one with a chance for a walk-off TD. They also had a TD pass slip through Julian Edelman’s hands. When there’s a game you’re expected to lose and you’re a Hall of Fame linebacker tackle away from stealing a road win, you take that all day – especially since the last two losses the Patriots had were at home against teams that ran all over them in embarrassing fashion.
Non-conference loss. Should the Patriots find themselves in any kind of tiebreaker scenario a few months from now as the playoff seedings are coming into focus, this game isn’t going to factor in very heavily. It’s a loss, and not much more. You always want to lose games on the road instead of at home, and you want to lose them to your non-conference opponents. If this loss ends up costing the Patriots a seed, it will most likely be on straight W-L record, not because of one of the other wild things that factor into tiebreakers.
It’s still the preseason. I’m taking absolutely nothing away from anything that happens, good or bad, to this team until maybe this time next month. It’s our job to analyze things and break down film and pretend it all matters, but the reality is that it doesn’t. The Patriots are still figuring themselves out, and so it’s tough to gauge whethe or not what we saw on Monday will really have any kind of impact on the season as a whole.
Cam is progressing. Cam Newton didn’t run nearly as much as he did last week; he stood in the pocket more and waited for plays to develop. He hit receivers in stride and expanded the playbook a little bit. When you’re just hoping to see a team develop each week and build for the long-term, these are the kind of things you get to take away from a game like this as opposed to have to endure “the dynasty is over” and “this team hates their coach” garbage. As long as this team does things better each and every week, 2020 is going to be a huge positive for this franchise.
Football is still going on! Two weeks into the season and nothing coronavirus-related has happened yet. I know plenty of folks who thought the NFL wouldn’t last past week one, let alone week two, and it’s looking like we may even make it to the first bye week of 2020 without some kind of tomfoolery. I still don’t know whether or not we’ll make it all the way to December without things shutting down, but if I’ve learned anything from this year, it’s to appreciate every element of normalcy in your life. I got to watch football on Sunday twice so far in September. I’ll take that any day.