This is my least favorite thing to do but I have to do it; I was wrong. For my readers who know me, that’s not something I admit very often if ever, but unfortunately this morning I am.
Last night was one of the most stressful nights of my life. The Pats lost their second game of the season, first since Brady’s return, in honestly embarrassing fashion. The team I watched last night is not the team I know this is. It seemed like there was no life on both sides of the ball. There were some sparks here and there from the offense but it wasn’t enough. I said I wasn’t concerned about this game, I thought it would be a cake walk to be perfectly honest, but it was the exact opposite.
Offensively, my biggest issue was the play calling which is something I’ve said before. Josh McDaniels is good at what he does but he’s so incredibly inconsistent it makes it hard for this team to keep momentum driving down the field. Tommy Brady also looked uncomfortable in the pocket which is a huge contributor to this loss. Seattle’s defense beat up this offensive line, with exception of Marcus Cannon completely shutting down Cliff Avril. Each offensive weapon produced, seeing consistently big catches from Edelman, Amendola, and the two tight ends. We also saw Tom throw his first interception of the season last night, something I had a feeling would happen. The on field mistakes offensively were huge, but I still am fascinated by the play calling. Driving down the field in a game with that many lead changes and time running down, and you run a draw on 2 and 7, against a defensive line that you haven’t really been able to penetrate all night… On top of that, did these teams learn nothing from the super bowl? LeGarrette Blount was one of the only players on this team who actually showed up with some life last night, scoring all three of New England’s touchdowns; he even carried the entire Seattle defense over the goal line. Twenty seconds left in the game, ball on the one yard line, and he’s only given the ball once. There was no need for a quarterback sneak, there was no need to look for Gronk the very last play of the game. Blount was running down their throats, why not give him the ball on all four downs? I’m no coach but at the rate that game was going, that seemed like the only logical thing to do. Before I rip into the defense, I want to touch on the last play of the game. There was an immense amount of contact in the back of the endzone, coming both from Gronkowski and Chancellor, and I do think the call was missed but I refuse to blame the refs for that loss. There were so many things the Patriots could’ve and should’ve done to put this one away and they just didn’t deliver. Can’t always blame the refs.
Defensively, I’m furious. Going into the season I said this Patriots defense had potential to be top five, but boy do I take that back. Everyone looked confused last night. No one seemed to be comfortable. Instead of shutting down Wilson and the Seahawks offense in their own territory and forcing a punt, they gave up the entire field and only played shut down defense in the red zones when their backs were against the wall. Matt Patricia is a genius, we know that, but he can’t do it all. It’s hard to be successful as a defensive coordinator in big games like that when your team looks utterly lost. Patrick Chung, someone who I’ve defended hard over the past few years showed me last night that maybe I shouldn’t be. On almost every big catch, it was his matchup. I’ll give credit where credit is due of course, this Seattle offense shocked me. Especially the rookie running back. He found every gap in the defensive line, he took advantage of being able to bounce to the outside and attack the sideline. He knew that this defense was being exposed last night, and took full advantage of that. Something’s gotta give with this team. If the main focus of practice this week isn’t figuring out all these defensive issues, there’s some major problems up in Foxboro. The only two losses on the season both came at home, something extremely uncharacteristic from this Patriots team and the first time it’s happened since the 2012 season. Both of these losses this season are games where the defense was picked apart. That’s an issue.
The rest of the schedule is fairly easy, which is perfect considering where we’re at right now. Getting all the kinks out before the playoffs is vital if this team is going to make another super bowl appearance, which I still think is highly probable. The next three games come against struggling San Francisco, Jets, and Rams teams which should help solidify another AFC East championship, and get these guys in playoff ready form, but there’s still a few more weeks after that to potentially change things.
I’m pissed, if you couldn’t tell. I’ll get over it by Thursday, probably, but for right now I’m pissed. Last night sucked. Time to bounce back and just blow the ‘Niners out of the water next Sunday just for the hell of it.