By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
October 13, 2002

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FOXBORO, MA -- Someone once said that the definition of insanity was repeating the same behavior over and over while expecting different results.

That appears to fit the New England Patriots perfectly.

On Sunday the Patriots committed four turnovers and 12-penalties in their 28-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers, their third defeat in as many games.

Through the first six games they've been flagged 46-times for 444-yards with their opponents being penalized just 33-times for 287-yards.

In their first three victories New England committed just four turnovers and took the ball away 10-times. In their last three losses they've taken it away just twice while turning it over 10-times.

Their coach is beside himself. These issues have been addressed in each of the past three weeks, yet things don't seem to change.

Neither does the result.

"I wish I had an answer to it," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after the game when asked why his team's miscues continue. "We've emphasized it. We know that this is a bad way to play. We have no chance playing like this. If we play like that, that's the way it'll be every week."

It shouldn't have taken three games to figure that out.

They opened the season averaging 38.3 points per game while giving up an average of 19-points per contest. They've given up 25-points per game while scoring just 12-per contest in the last three. Their offense has struggled, with quarterback Tom Brady completing 77-for-128 for 776 yards, with five touchdown passes, and seven interceptions during their 0-3 skid.

He had opened the season in style in their first three games, completing 93 of 132 passes for 973 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.

As he's struggled so has the offense. In each of the last two games a Brady interception has lead to a touchdown for their opponents. Turnovers in general have lead to a total of 28-points to the other team during that span.

With the offense giving the ball away, it's obviously difficult for any team to win football games. Despite Brady's miscues over the past three games, he can't control Richard Seymour from committing an unsportsmanlike penalty which eventually lead to a Packers touchdown. He can't account for the holding penalties and pass interference penalties, or any other silly mistake that ends up killing a drive.

"This is about a lot more than any one individual," said Belichick. "Our football team is struggling. [We've] lost three games in a row, [we] didn't play pretty competitively today, [we] weren't competitive in the first half last week, so this is about a football team."

A football team that isn't learning from their mistakes, and a coaching staff that appears to have some things they'll need to think about.

The short passing game mixed in with the running game which had made them so effective went out the window again on Sunday. With the Green Bay secondary suffering from injuries it appeared that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis felt that it was the time to try and strike down the field. Five times they threw the ball downfield. Twice it was intercepted.

That certainly qualifies as insanity.

In the fourth quarter the Patriots finally returned to what they had been doing well, short passes mixed in with runs by Antowain Smith. By the time they had done so it was too late.

Now they have two weeks to look back and reflect on the mistakes they have repeatedly made over the past three games. They have time to try and get it together before they face a tough Denver Broncos team that almost beat division rival Miami Sunday night.

"We've addressed the problems and tried to correct them," said Belichick. "But obviously we're not getting it done because the same things are recurring. So that's not a good sign and not a good result."

"[We'll do] whatever we can do to make it better. Whatever falls under that umbrella, if it can help us do better than that then we have to consider doing it, whatever it is."


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