By Mark Beauchamp, Contributing Writer and Loyal Patriots Fan
The New England Patriots suffered yet another gut wrenching loss in Week 6, falling to the Seahawks 24-23 in Seattle. The loss left the Patriots at 3-3 on the season and opened up a giant can of worms in New England. This week the Pats prepare for a big AFC East tilt as their most bitter rival the New York Jets make their annual visit to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA.
Any Given Sunday continues to be the theme in the NFL this season and it has Pats fans rattled. There is no doubt that the entire NFL system is rigged towards parity. The draft, the schedule, free agency – all of it. If Commissioner Roger Goodell had his way all 32 teams would finish the season with a record of 8-8. Well he wants it – he gets it. Just take a look at the standings. Every single God Damn team in the AFC East currently stands at 3 wins and 3 losses. Only two teams in the entire AFC – – the Ravens and Texans at 5-1 each – stand above .500.
Parity isn’t new in the NFL but during the Belichick-Brady Era the Patriots have always been able to stay out of this stupid looking cluster eff. They were up above it – now they’re down in it. And it bites I tell you – it bites hard.
New England looked sloppy, unorganized and ineffective throughout the Seattle game. They were plagued by questionable coaching decisions and blown scoring opportunities. Despite their lack of execution the Patriots still had Seattle on the ropes leading 23-10 late in the game. But instead of delivering the knockout punch the Pats let the Seahawks off the hook, blowing another 4th quarter lead.
This is all very unfamiliar to Patriot fans accustomed to seeing great situational football, game management and good decision making. None of that existed in Seattle. Poor coaching decisions and average, very average quarterback play has always been the other teams’ problem – not ours.
There is plenty of blame to go around for this Mess In The Northwest. The secondary is taking most of the heat in New England because they can’t cover anyone which is kind of an issue when that is your job. But the guys most responsible for over a decade of success for the Patriots – Head Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady – may be the guys most responsible for this tough loss. Pats fans were stunned watching their team butcher a gift the Seahawks delivered at the end of the first half by fumbling away a punt and turning the ball over to New England at the Seattle 24 with 40 seconds remaining. New England not only failed to score any points on the turnover they also managed to look especially idiotic in blowing the opportunity. They had already messed the possession up when on 3rd and 3 with 6 seconds left instead of taking an easy field goal they inexplicably chose to go for it. Brady was called for intentional grounding on the play ending the half with the Pats unable to score. In Bill We Trust? You gotta be shittin’ me with that decision. And his QB didn’t help the situation at all. Once known as Mr. Clutch Brady has been anything but this season and arguably anything but since losing Super Bowl XLII. The numbers are scary – Google “Brady In The Clutch Since 2009” and see for yourself.
Belichick again looked dumb on Seattle’s late game winning TD pass when the Patriots had rookies Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner at Safety in their Cover 2 Defense. Ebner is a rugby player which I love but it hardly qualifies him to be on an NFL field with that responsibility in that situation. Seattle Coach Pete Carroll had to be so frickin’ jacked and pumped to see that personnel on the field and the Seahawks took advantage when Russell Wilson heaved an easy 46 yard TD pass to Sidney Rice – ball game.
Belichick and Brady are both heading for Canton and without them there isn’t any such thing as the Patriot Way. There aren’t three Lombardi Trophies in Foxboro if not for the Coach and the QB. But they both have to do a lot better if we are to expect a fourth Super Bowl title in New England.
And now It’s Jets week. What a time for the friggin Jets to turn up on the schedule. On one hand a nice home W over Gang Green will go a long way towards soothing the bruised egos in New England. But if the Jets come in and beat the Patsies there will be panic in the streets of Foxboro. I know one thing – if I’m Rex Ryan I’m having Mark Dirty Sanchez sling the thing 70 times and make the Patriots prove they can play any kind of pass coverage at all. I would run it like we used to behind the JFK Junior High in Woburn – everyone go long and heave it – hope for an interference call or a big gain.
The Jets come into the game with 99 problems of their own. New York has beaten up on bad teams and struggled against quality opponents. New York lost back-to-back home games against the 49ers (34-0) and Texans (23-17), but last week scored a decisive 35-9 home victory over the Colts. Rex Ryan has his usual swagger and he aint here to kiss no rings act going strong. The Jets offense has been inconsistent. Sanchez pretty much still sucks and he hasn’t been helped any by having Tim Tebow looking over his shoulder. All World Cornerback Darrelle Revis is lost for the season with an ACL tear but the Jets pass defense has been surprisingly stingy even after losing its best player. Their run defense on the other hand is very weak. Only the Bills (nine) have allowed more rushing touchdowns than the Jets (eight). Poor tackling has been an issue with New York allowing 2.2 yards after contact per rush this season, third-worst in the league. They’ve have allowed 4.6 yards per rush inside the tackles, sixth-worst in the league. The Patriots are 3-0 when running on more than half of their plays from scrimmage and 0-3 when rushing on less than half. So don’t ask me why they chose to pass 58 friggin’ times in Seattle. This may be a good day to bring the balance back and run the ball down the Jets throat.
Fire up the grills Pats fans – this is gonna be a BIG ONE.
Get the tailgate going early and get lubed up – be a factor.
F The Jets.
Go Pats Go.