I remember when I wouldn’t have to write my first Coping With Loss article until late September at the earliest. This is starting to feel like high school when the teacher would give a pop quiz on the very first day to make sure I’d done the summer reading.
Which, for the record, I never did.
The New England Patriots dropped their season opener to the Miami Dolphins in a game that, on its surface, looked pretty ugly. It was 17-0 at halftime and the Pats never really got back in it.
But that’s OK; not all is lost, at least not yet. As always, there were some positives we can all take away from this most recent L. Here are five of them.
It’s Week 1. Is it nice to open the first week of the season with a win? Of course. Is it a big deal if you lose? Not at all. New England is now 0-1 for the second straight year, and that’s totally fine. It’s a long season ahead, and the Patriots are going to be OK. Week 1 does not a season make. Especially since...
Fixable issues. Execution wasn’t great overall for the Patriots. There were some mental errors and costly mistakes that ultimately lost this one for the Patriots, all of which are addressable. Ball security, making better reads, not jumping at the line... all of these things contributed to the loss. That’s not to take anything away from what Miami was able to accomplish in any capacity — but I think that the Patriots could very much have won that game if they hadn’t made some big flubs.
At Miami. I think I’m going to save myself some time by just cut and pasting this paragraph into a Word document so I can recycle it every time the Patriots head to south Florida and drop a game. We all more or less expect the Pats to split with Miami every year, lose on the road and win at home. Though I should acknowledge that Tua is now 4-0 against the Patriots, so it’s not like at least one W against the Fins is guaranteed anymore. But I’ve been expecting a loss at Miami every year for, give or take, two decades now, and consider wins down there a nice bonus.
Tale of two halves. I’d make the case that the Patriots looked a lot better coming out of the locker room to start the third quarter. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done at that point and they were never able to fully climb out of the hole. The defense only gave up three points in the second half and the offense put together a 15-play, 92-yard touchdown drive to bring the game within 10.
Kyle Dugger. Kyle Dugger might have been the best player on the field for either team on Sunday. The man is an absolute monster who has only gotten better every year. He had six tackles, five of them solo, and two TFLs in this game and was an absolute presence when he was out there. Don’t let the media fool you; there are some stars on this team, and Dugger is one of them. Very much looking forward to watching his continued development.