I figured this would be a thread full of whining.
Since none of us are on the field, we do not run the risk of endangering future outcomes by admitting that we did well by hanging with a now 9-2 team that had a huge chip on its shoulder.
Just like the real team has to have mental toughness to compete, though, we need a little more mental toughness when a game is still being played.
Can we not compete to try to be the first guy to say "It's over"? I keep seeing that. When I was a kid if you were a real fan, you'd hold on to any shred of possibility. Hell, forget the Patriots, I was a Red Sox fan in the 20th century. Now? People don't understand that games ebb and flow. Everything that doesn't go their way is some reason to be a big baby. The refs screwed us. This player should be fired. That player should be fired. Why didn't Bill go out and get that guy? (PS, the moment Justin Jefferson moons the crowd he is OURS.)
I had our GDT open during that Atlanta SB, and it was really obvious who was a real fan. A bunch of guys wanted to just sit around, stay in the chat room, and lament about how "it's over" and how horrible the Patriots REALLY were.
Don't get me started on the Playcalling Fallacy, formerly known by the phrase Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. Yes yes, you're brilliant, you woulda coulda shoulda got that call right on the unsuccessful play call. I never see anybody saying "I love that play call" when a play IS successful. When I see that even out, I'll know it's not just a reflection of some sports media trope up there.
Okay enough about everybody else. For me, the offense was playing well all night but lost that ability to sustain the drive and punch it in. It didn't run out of gas to rack up the yards, it ran out of the secret sauce that led to TDs, especially RZ TDs.
The ST just had what I hope were all its F-ups in one game. Giving up the big return TD right after Mac came out and put together that drive in the beginning of the second half was bad, and the running into the kicker penalty that took away possession was worse. Those were big swings.
We're not alone in being unable to cover Justin Jefferson, but it would have been nice if we were the rare team that could do so. That said, his performance loomed huge in my mind, then I looked up his actual numbers. I would have guessed high-100-200 yard range. And it just FELT like he caught at least 2 TDs. But no, 139 and 1... that's still plenty. That said, he can cut your heart out in one quick throw and he reeks of WR dominance. We're going to be hearing that name a lot. Just looked... 1232 yards on the year, 5 TDs. That's 11 games, by the way. "WAHHHH why don't WE have that guy?" I dunno you got 25 million a season lying around to buy one in FA? No? Back to the crap shoot then. Still, he's going to be their Gronk for a while... and right now I believe it's still on his rookie deal.
As often happens when you're playing from behind, Mac Jones demonstrated that yes, he can rack up the yardage. It's just unwise to try to do so against the better secondaries in the league. This Vikings team will be outdueled by another high-octane offense; they gave up 382 yards to a Mac Jones-led team, and that wasn't all (or mostly) in garbage time. In a NE win he would have gone for over 300. And yes, that includes catch & runs.
We, on the other hand, got a dose of reality. yeah we look big and bad holding the JETE to 3. But we had not yet confronted the concentrated evil that is Kirk Cousins.
I'm putting this one in the category of "no moral victories BUT..."
- I was hoping for but not counting on a W; it certainly wasn't one I would have circled on the calendar as an easy win
- It felt good for Mac's development, and/or the development of the O-line, and/or the evolution of our offensive coaching. I am particularly proud of calling the use of HH as a scoring threat rather than an ornament. Mac was crisp, efficient, and downright deadly at times last night against an admittedly porous MN secondary. It's not a real test. I've seen sharper corners on bowling balls. But it's good to see him doing it and scoring points. To his credit, lately he's been doing it just not scoring points.
- The downside is, characteristically, what we notice first and what we'll carry around with us as a fan base. We had a ST meltdown, and it will take a couple games for me to believe that was a one-off. We played like JAGs on defense, and curiously, we didn't get pressure against a team that can be had in their own backfield. I am sure we'll argue all that.
- Edit (I almost forgot): Stevenson is ridiculous. I called that one his rookie preseason. The MN fans would be whining about how they had no answer for him all night if the score went the other way. "Wahhh how come we didnt get that Rhamondre Stevenson and we only have this Cook guy..."
- So, Bills next, and it's not going to let up much this regular season. Given what this team's shown so far, we have to play out of our minds to even back into the playoffs. On the other hand, we have seen both the defense and the ST that were missing yesterday. We found an offensive groove that we can hope to revisit or OMG improve upon.
Time to see whether we go "oh nooooo this is so harrrrrd" or whether we say "we're here, we belong in the conversation, [etc.]"
This game really felt like Mac10 can make that statement. So far he's just cleared his throat to speak, but I'd be elated to see him (re-) emerge.