By: Russ Goldman
I have been reading and listening to so much negativity towards a victory that has been over the top. No matter how ugly the 13-10 victory looked for the Patriots, it still counts in the standings. Also, I am going to look back at Patriots history to show you that all three Super Bowl Championship teams won games ugly.
In 2001, the Patriots would win a game in the Meadowlands against the Jets that was quite simply ugly. The Patriots came from behind to win as they trailed at the half 13-0, but ended up winning 17-13 in a game that showed the Patriots ability to overcome adversity and eventually win.
Two weeks later, the Patriots beat the Bills 12-9 in an extremely ugly game which saw the Patriots win in overtime. David Patten got knocked out momentarily, and the ball was recovered by the Bills, but after replay it was determined that Patten was out of bounds so the ball stayed with the Patriots. The Patriots would eventually win this game.
In 2003, the Patriots beat the Browns 9-3 in a game I attended. This was not an easy game to watch, but it was won by the defense as they held the Browns offense to a total of 203 yards.
A few weeks later, the Patriots beat the Cowboys at home, and won the game 12-0, which was the return of Bill Parcells to Foxborough after coming back to the NFL that season out of retirement. Again, this was a game that was won on defense, but I don’t think anyone that watched it will say that was a pretty victory.
Even in the 2004 season, that many so called experts say was the best ever for the Patriots, the Patriots had an ugly win. In the last win of the twenty one game winning streak, the Patriots beat the Jets at Gillette Stadium 13-7 that saw the Patriots stop the Jets on their final offensive drive to win the game.
All of these examples I have given were ugly victories, but they also meant the same thing, and that was simply another “W” in the win column. We can critique the Patriots victory on Thursday all we want, but playing the games are about winning, and that is absolutely what happened against the Jets.
Being able to find ways to win has been a trademark of Patriots teams since Bill Belichick arrived. Instead of focusing so much on the play of the offense in this game, think about how the defense actually earned the victory.
I think that is a very important point to make because fans like myself have been waiting to see the defense step up, and they did just that. Also, on offense, it is also about working through adversity, and learning from your mistakes. I chalk this offensive performance as disappointing for the results, but it could be a step in a process of improvement.
Sometimes you actually get better, once you have gone through adversity, and I just think the receivers who played on Thursday have a chance to learn from their mistakes. These receivers have a chance to learn on the job and hopefully improve as the season goes on.
When the injured players do return, the offense should dramatically improve. However, in the meantime the rookie wide receivers are getting very valuable experience that should make them better over the course of time.
It was expected to see struggles from the offense, but that isn’t always a bad thing. You saw the Patriots defense pick up the slack and win an ugly game. As I stated before, all three Super Bowl Championship teams did the same, and look how those seasons turned out.
I am a glass half full fan so I see the benefit that can come out of these growing pains on offense. I feel what has actually happened in the last two games are good signs of things to come, because history has showed us that three Patriots teams that have won ugly can go all the way.