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Fan Notes from the Patriots’ 38-3 loss to the Cowboys

Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots’s 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

NFL: New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re here, looking to read about the worst loss of Bill Belichick’s career and one of the most embarrassing New England Patriots performances of the 21st century, I have to ask:

Why? What are you doing here? I sure as hell don’t want to be here.

This is one of those games where I hope the team doesn’t even watch the tape, because there’s just nothing to take away. Bury it all and move on. And I’m going to get through these Fan Notes as quickly as humanly possible so I can never think about this game again.

1. I have no choice but to start with what I wish more than anything would stop, and that’s all talk of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. There simply isn’t a comprehensible way for me to express how little I care about either of those two or their relationship. I never root for breakups, but I legit don’t think I can make it through an entire NFL season with this level of coverage. I can’t name a single Taylor Swift song and the only place I want to see Kelce is on the field being a football player. For the love of all things holy, enough. The only possible way that any of this could get any more unbearably insufferable is if Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, Kevin Hart, and Ryan Fitzpatrick formed a band and sang nothing but the 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS jingle over and over.

2. I’m usually not one to knock something someone else enjoys. I think everyone should be free to like whatever they want judgement free, and I’m a massive, massive proponent of the “If you don’t like it, just don’t watch/read/talk about it” philosophy. But we’re unfortunately now living in a reality of “If you don’t like it, just don’t watch it while we cram it down your throat and up your butt and into your ears and through your nasal cavity everywhere you turn 24 hours a day and it’s literally impossible to escape” and I can feel my already feeble grip on my sanity starting to slip. So, I pray to Tebow, please, please, please make Swift and Kelce stop. I just want to watch football.

3. Although if asked to choose between watching Kelce/Swift coverage and having to rewatch yesterday’s game, I think I know what I’d pick.

4. I’m doing everything in my power to block this game out, but before I do... if there was a positive offensive play beyond the Demario Douglas run and that Hunter Henry one-handed catch, I’ve already forgotten about it. This team can’t run the ball. They can’t block. The receivers can’t get open. And Mac Jones had his worst game as a pro by a country mile. I was surprised to look at the box score this morning and see that Jones completed 12 passes, as it’s about six more than I thought he had. No wide receiver caught more than two passes and the leading yard gainer had 51.

5. My handwriting is absolutely atrocious. It’s so illegible that even I look back over something I wrote down and have no idea what it says. When I was a kid I had special teachers and handwriting coaches and special pencils and tracing patters and a plethora of other aids to try and improve the quality of my penmanship. Absolutely nothing worked, and eventually all of my teachers just gave up. When you’re a team that, without fail, gets yourself into a huge hole almost every single week because of mental errors and horrible turnovers, and nothing is working to remedy that, at a certain point you have to wonder whether it might be time to just concede that it’s just never going to resolve itself.

6. Apparently there Jags/Falcons game had a Toy Story simulcast where each player has a chip in their shoulder pads to track movement & then combines that with Hawkeye optical tracking (like tennis) to animate the game in real-time. As long as they limit that to those 9:30 a.m. international games that everyone forgets is even on, I’m OK with it. Just keep it off the main games.

7. At first I was pissed that the scheduling gods for ensured that the Commanders/Eagles game went to overtime and all the way down to the very end, thus ensuring I missed half of the first quarter as the NFL Red Zone Package charged me an absurd amount of money to not un-black out regional games that aren’t broadcast because of contractual overtime rules. But in retrospect I was spared a solid eight minutes of that garbage, so I’ll take it.

8. I’m once again not that upset at the defense. Giving up 24 points when you’re down your top four corners to a very good Cowboys team isn’t that bad. And I’m at the point where I take some real solace in how much worse the D looked after Christian Gonzalez went down, as we have something very special in that kid. And to continue trying to shine this turd, if you’re one of those “Tom Brady is overrated because he played with good defenses” morons, maybe this current iteration of the Patriots helps to illustrate how intertwined offense and defense is and how difficult it is for one to be good while the other struggles. Unless you have an all-time great Offense of Defense, that pesky little thing called complementary football is going to be crucial to anyone’s success.

9. There are a lot of “Mac Jones isn’t the guy, it’s clear now” takes swirling at the moment. And that take has been gaining some well deserved momentum these past few games. Some of the decisions he has been making have been flat out atrocious, and they’re completely on him, not the coordinators or the playcalling. I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel on Mac Jones just yet, but I have it in my hand and Duke Evers screaming at me to just toss it already.

10. All signs point to Matthew Judon missing some extended time, if not the entire season, with a biceps injury. The way things went yesterday, honestly the first thing that went through my mind after feeling bad for him was “well at least now he can be healthy and not banged up next year when this team might actually have a shot.

11. Jonnu Smith had six grabs for 95 yards yesterday and Jakobi Meyers had two grabs for 33. Eight catches for 128 yards from those two matches the production from Hunter Henry, Demario Douglas, and Kendrick Bourne combined yesterday.

12. I’m going to end on a positive note and then get the hell out of here and never think about this game again: we have yet to see the 2023 Patriots, on either side of the ball, play at full strength. We’re likely not going to with Judon out, but they can get their linemen their corners back and turn things around. There are some very winnable games on the slate and outside of three or four teams in the AFC, the conference is wide open. I’m not out yet. 1-3 isn’t the end of the world. It just kind of feels like it right now.

I’m getting tired of watching the same movie every week. Hopefully, the rest of October brings a change to the programming.