October 12, 2009
Patriots Not As Sharp As Their Throwbacks
BY: Kevin Rousseau
The only thing that looked up to par on Sunday against the Broncos were the Patriots' white throwback uniforms. Come to think of it, the game was the kind of classic Pat Patriot-era inconsistent performance that used to drive us nutty on a weekly basis.
All losses are not created equal. There are some like the classics against the Colts where you just have to tip your cap and say "Well, it was a great, great game and sometimes it just doesn't work out." There are others like the Dolphins Wildcat loss a year ago where it just wasn't working out from the get go. Others are emotional because of the baggage between the teams like we are now experiencing with the Jets and their pantload of a new head coach.
But perhaps most maddening are the losses like the one on Sunday to the Broncos. Ahead in the second half by 10 points and then seven, the game was still controlled by the Patriots until the last five minutes. One more score, whether a field goal or a touchdown, and the game was won. The offense looked average. The quarterback generally had plenty of time to make a play but overthrew his receivers on a number of critical plays.
And a week after proclaiming this was a defense we could finally get behind, the Patriots couldn't get to Kyle Orton, put up a decent run defense or make enough plays in the secondary. Throw in a few lack-of-discipline personal foul penalties and you could probably hear the collective groans across New England around dinner time on Sunday night.
The most alarming fact is that it was the kind of game the Patriots always, always win. Two fourth down special teams penalties from the Broncos handed the Patriots a golden chance that they always would cash in for a victory. When is the last time your beloved Patriots gave up a game-tying 98-yard drive late in a game. It was a case of bend and break on Sunday.
It's not that the team is hopeless like the Browns, Bills or Raiders. Perhaps more maddening is that we know this is a better team than their 3-2 record has them pegged at currently. At what point does the switch get flipped this season?
Or does it?
Realistically, there should be no excuse why the Patriots shouldn't be 5-2 going into their bye week later this month. They have theoretical cakewalk games coming up against two teams that are now 0-5. The back end of the schedule also favors the Patriots whether they are slightly above average as their record currently indicates or improve as we hope and believe that they will.
Late season games against the Bills, Panthers, Jaguars and Texans should get this team fairly close to playoff contention. The question still to be determined is whether it is the type of team you want to get behind and in some cases spend about $400 on a playoff ticket deposit right after Thanksgiving. Last week it was, this week it isn't.
Would the real Patriots team please stand up and start playing as good as their throwback uniforms look?
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