by Mark Beauchamp, Contributing Writer and Loyal Patriots Fan
The Arizona Cardinals crashed the party at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA with a shocking win over the New England Patriots 20-18 ruining the Home Opener on an otherwise perfect fall day and leaving nearly 70,000 stunned fans puking up kielbasa and steak tips.
This was the first home opener loss in the 11 year history of Gillette Stadium. It was the first home opening loss for Tom Brady as starter. In fact, Brady was 35-1 in his last 36 regular season home starts. The Patriots simply don’t lose this kind of game.
The loss itself was bad enough but the way this thing went down was pure torture chamber business. The heretofore best QB On The Planet, Brady was picked off on his first pass attempt of the game and he looked average, very average for the second straight week. Star tight end Aaron Hernandez was knocked out with an ankle injury. A blocked punt of all things led to an easy Arizona score. A last minute apparent game winning touchdown by Danny Woodhead was called back on a bullshit holding call by the brutal scab officials. Yet through all that it still came down to a makeable 42 yard field goal attempt by Stephen Gostkowski for the Patriots to escape with a W – and he missed the damn thing.
I can count myself among the spoiled perhaps even arrogant Patriots fans coddled by over a decade of continuous success. The home crowd at Gillette Stadium has done gone soft and is really no longer a factor at all. But most of us at least understand that in today’s NFL every week is a battle. Parity is the name of the game. You try to make it out of each week alive and have fun doing it. Teams can go 10-6 or even 9-7 and still win a division and secure a spot in the Super Bowl tournament at the end of the regular season. There is no such thing as an easy W. After two weeks this season there are 20 of 32 teams sitting at 1 win and 1 loss including the entire AFC East. Any Give Sunday, baby – Any Give Sunday.
But this stunning home loss to the Cardinals may either serve as a wakeup call for the Pats or a sign of bad things, man – bad things. The New England NFL Team is suddenly lugging more baggage than your high school girlfriend. The offensive line looks awful sparking the fears of average Joe football fans and at least one supermodel that Brady may get killed before the season ends . The play calling by Offensive Coordinator Prodigal Son Hoodie In Waiting Josh McDaniel has been highly questionable. Nobody seems to know what the deal is with Wes Welker. You simply cannot replace Hernandez. And when you really take a close look at the film of the first two games you will see that Brady is way off – certainly by his all time great standards. We’re dealing with a lot of shit, okay?
It doesn’t get any easier this week as the Patriots travel to Baltimore to take on the powerful Ravens in a Sunday Night Football rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. The Ravens are a damn good football team. Their defense has long been the team’s calling card, between a fierce pass rush and stellar secondary play they are as tough as it comes.
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The Ravens feature sure fire Hall of Famers in linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed. They are missing injured star linebacker Terrell Suggs and there is a little bit of grey in the Raven beards but this defense is formidable and they will pose a huge challenge to Brady and the Patriots.
The Patriots defense has been much improved this season and they will need to be excellent for the visitors to have a shot on Sunday night. The Ravens offensive line is excellent as is running back Ray Rice. QB Joe Flacco on the other hand continues to be plagued by inconsistent play. Expect coach Bill Belichick to focus on shutting down Rice and the Baltimore running game and daring Flacco to beat them via the air attack.
It’s gonna be a big one. The tough will get rough in a prime time fight. Pats fans will be waiting all day for Sunday Night.
F The Ravens.
Go Pats Go.