This may be one of my favorite weeks of every NFL season. Now I know that this may be a confusing first take following a tough Pats loss, but these are the weeks that really get the juices flowing.
For Patriots fans weeks 1-6 are an extension of the preseason. That will piss a lot of football fans off to hear, but it’s true. A team as complicated and advanced as the Patriots know you not only need time to understand the schemes and get comfortable with the elite play calling, but they also need to fail.
Don’t get me wrong, Bill enters every game with the intent of leaving the field covered in enemy blood, but he’s also an evil genius. Although he would never hope for a loss, he certainly wakes up with a slight smirk on his face knowing Hell week is upon the Patriots roster. Bill knows there’s no success without failure.
And this Sunday was surely a failure.
Bortles throws for 377 yards and 4 TDs during the NFL's hottest game since 2003.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) September 17, 2018
The New England offense was anemic and the defense was even worse. Not to mention a missed field goal mixed in to make things worse, this game was not fun to watch. Yet it’s a vital part of being a Patriots fan. We need reminders that this is still the highest level of competition and you can’t beat everyone. It makes winning the Super Bowl even more enjoyable.
Normally after Patriots games I give the good, the bad and the ugly to recap Sunday. Not today bitches. Today I have all the reasons that this game was no more than bulletin board material for Belichick.
Reason number one. This is probably the most important fact to keep in mind if you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable on Monday. Edelman will be back in two weeks.
New England Patriots WR's have their fewest yards per catch (9.4) and 2nd fewest total yards receiving thru the first 2 games of the season in the Tom Brady era
Note: not counted (2001, 2008, 2016)
sorted by total yards rec pic.twitter.com/n2CqcW5as1
— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) September 17, 2018
The dump and runs to James White, although effective against most, will not always win you games against elite defenses such as Jacksonville. Sony Michel’s debut Sunday was also very promising. In the end of the day, though, the Patriots throw and they do it a lot. As the team stands, sans-Edelman, Tom is finding it difficult to get that big first down on third and long. Edelman solves that problem while also opening up reason number two in coverage.
And Reason number two is the robot himself, Gronk.
“I don’t think Gronk’s good. Let me say — I don’t think Gronk is as great as people think he is.”
Gronk vs. Jags: 2 rec, 15 yards
Jalen Ramsey walked the walk. pic.twitter.com/xSHaDx6jnY
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 16, 2018
That’s a hard tweet to look at for Pats fans. Nobody wants to lose an individual battle in which the other person was talking endless shit. You want to silence those type of players. So first, I’ll address Ramsy.
The man’s a coward. There’s no doubt Gronk had a rough Sunday, but it was not to the hands of Jalen Ramsy. Ramsy could be found attached to Cordalle Patterson and secondary receivers’ hips on the outside all game. Be a man and take Gronk one on one and we’ll see if his theory really holds up.
Beyond the Ramsy bullshit, Gronk will be better. The offense felt like an endless force against the Jaguars and credit to their defense. At the same time, it was clear there was a lessened level of effort from the Patriots Sunday. There’s no other reason for such rage out of Tom and McDaniels, especially early into the game.
Josh McDaniels and the Patriots offense needed to have a talk. pic.twitter.com/Jn6V1nzWaq
— Henry Coffey McKenna (@McKennAnalysis) September 16, 2018
Which brings me to my third and final reason. The team we saw Sunday was not the Patriots. It was a shadow of what the roster is capable of. There was a clear lack of effort and, in their defense, you try to give 100% effort for 60 minutes of grueling activity in 100 degree weather. I, for one, melt when I exit whatever room has a window air conditioner blasting in my face in that type of weather. Its unbearable.
Luckily for the Pats, they have our first bye week this week as they face off against old friend Matt Patricia and the lowly Lions this weekend. There is Hell to pay for any Patriots loss, but especially those as bad as Sunday’s loss to Jacksonville. I wish Patricia wasn’t going to be on the receiving end of the abuse the Patriots will bring this weekend, but it has to be someone.
It’s still all smiles in Gillette. And I will still see everyone who thinks otherwise in Atlanta on February 3rd.