One might think that there’s absolutely nothing positive to take away from Monday Night’s loss to the Chicago Bears, let alone five. And if you want to doom and gloom it, you go right ahead. But as always, all is not lost
Here are five pluses I’m taking away from this one.
Non-conference loss. NFC losses are never that big a deal when it comes to tiebreakers. And given the tightness of the AFC race, odds are every single team is going to have similar records come January, and when all the tiebreakers settle out, this one isn’t going to count for much beyond the L column.
One of those games. Pretty much nothing went right for the Patriots on Monday, and it seems to happen every single year without fail. The team never really shows up, and from the opening coin toss it all just kind of goes wrong. Other than those two Zappe scoring drives and Judon’s performance, there isn’t anything you can really hang your hat on. We can point to games like this one, even in the Brady era, where everyone thought the Pats would dominate and they laid a total egg. Just have to bury the game and move on.
Turning point. How the Patriots’ season, and possibly the next several seasons, will be determined by how the Patriots react to this loss. From the top on down, this team needs to look inward to see what they’re capable of, who they have in the locker room, how they’re going to respond, and what the next 10 games are going to look like. Hopefully we’ll all be able to look back on this loss the same way we now look back at that Monday Night blowout at KC back in 2014. That 2014 squad was obviously a Super Bowl team, so the comparison isn’t apples to apples. But I’m going to take the optimistic approach that sees the Patriots do some good things coming off this embarrassment.
Nothing makes any sense. This latest game is just another example: I don’t think wins and losses even matter in the NFL in 2022. Nobody has any idea what’s going on this season. Beating teams you should beat, losing to teams you should lose to, upsetting favorites, blowing out weaker teams... I don’t think any of those things apply this year. In normal times this is one of those losses that sticks with you because New England is the better team. But this year, there’s the Bills and the Chiefs and then just a complete tangled mass of 30 other franchises that all kind of stink and are all kind of good and anybody can beat anybody and anybody can lose to anybody. Every week is completely off the wall and because of that we all just need to take each game for what it is, enjoy the wins, shrug off the losses, and see what shakes out over the second half of the season. Absolutely nothing will shock me anymore going forward, and that’s kind of a fun way to approach the year.
The McRib is back! There are some “Every year I get to make this point” in a Coping With Loss article, and for as long as McDonald’s brings back this amazing, amazing sandwich “for the final time,” I’ll be on here singing it’s praises. Why it’s called The McRib is beyond me; I don’t think there’s a single speck of actual rib meat in there among the assorted pig anus and irregular memory foam mattress filling. But that’s just a delicious, delicious sandwich, and when it’s out in the world, it’s difficult to be too upset.