What This Loss Means to the Patriots


Very few things rile up NFL media and fans alike more than a New England Patriots loss.

For two decades now, people have had to endure the constant success of a team that almost everyone outside of the Northeast has grown to hate.

Most of that vitriol gets spewed towards two specific people. The old, curmudgeon head coach who has been labeled a cheater with no remorse, and the 42-year-old “Golden Boy” quarterback who, while repeatedly defying the odds, has amassed a list of haters and doubters almost as long as his NFL accolades.


That feeling of disdain is why whenever this team loses, every single talking-head and rival fan takes the opportunity to jump down their throat and cast them off. And it makes sense considering the very few chances they have each season.

Every loss is the end of the dynasty. Every loss is a sign that the Patriots “just aren’t good anymore.” Laughable for sure, but it’s the reality we live in.


Remember last season? When New England lost to the Jaguars and Lions in back-to-back weeks and people were claiming this isn’t the same team they used to be? And then, following six wins in a row, they got blown out by the Titans –– which brought on the tried and true “sky is falling” argument?

Quick question, how did that season end?

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

And then comes Sunday Night against the Ravens. This Patriots team was 8-0 with a stellar defense going against their toughest opponent yet. And they got beat…badly. While the score might not be indicative, the Patriots never felt truly out of it until Baltimore went up by 17 late in the 4th. But in the end, the Patriots got outplayed and outcoached.

And since that very rarely ever happens, it’s natural to hear people the next day claiming the Patriots team isn’t “for real.” Or that the defense isn’t as good as everyone claimed they were.


But when you step back and take your fandom out of it, what exactly happened?

Lamar Jackson grew up before our very eyes. Many thought Jackson wouldn’t continue his dominance and the Ravens defense would prove to be mediocre. Neither happened. The young quarterback made plays with his legs, using the read-option, and took the passes when they were there.

On the other side of the ball, the defense put pressure on Brady all night. He did a good job evading would-be sacks here and there, but ultimately his line couldn’t hold up.

That was one of two weaknesses exposed by the Ravens on Sunday Night. The Patriots offensive line acting as a revolving door and the defense’s inability to slow down any talented runner. Those are what Patriots fans should be worried about.

Brady played well with what he had. His accuracy and vision are still elite while his pocket presence is still amazing to watch. Newly added receiver Mohamed Sanu seems to be in Brady’s ‘circle of trust,’ which is a great sign moving forward.

He had his team driving with all the momentum to start the second half before Julian Edelman fumbled and the Ravens picked it up and scored. Uncharacteristic.

The part that should really have Pats Nation excited is that at least one of those aforementioned weaknesses won’t be around for long.

Isaiah Wynn is due to come back in a few weeks and will hopefully stabilize the left tackle position. That will certainly bring more continuity and familiarity with the entire O-Line.

As for the run defense, they just have to play better and more disciplined. Luckily, other than Deshaun Watson, no one else will pose a threat quite like Jackson does for the remainder of the team’s schedule. Make your tackles, focus on your assignment and success will likely follow.

And if this offense can round into shape, teams will be forced to throw the ball more anyway.

So, what does this loss mean to the Patriots? Just that. A loss. Nothing more, nothing less. Even though the Ravens are acting like it’s much more.

Which is normal. Many teams look at their schedule when the season begins and circle whichever date the get to play the Patriots. For them, it’s more than just a game. For New England, it’s Week 9.

Many on this team have been through much worse than losing to a worthy opponent on a Sunday Night. This is where mental toughness comes into play, and that’s a quality this team isn’t lacking.

The New England Patriots are 8-1, sitting atop the AFC, and have a Bye Week to lick their wounds and get ready for the stretch run.

As for pundits and fans spouting off about how this team’s time is over? The Patriots are used to that. Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.


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