#mood after giving away yet ANOTHER winnable game.
It's mid-October, and moral victory season is officially over for the New England Patriots. Just like last year at this point, they're 2-4, but it's a much more frustrating 2-4 (even though the Broncos loss last year was one of the worst of my entire life) because all four losses have come at home and they really could've won any of those games. The Saints game was much closer than the score would indicate, and like the pick-6 last night...a Patriots pass-catcher had his hands on it first, but none of that changes the fact that the Pats are 0-4 at home for the first time since 1993 (the year BEFORE Mr. Kraft bought the franchise).
If you want to say the Patriots aren't ready to compete with the rest of the NFL, I'm going to respectfully disagree because that's the one thing I can definitively say this season. It doesn't matter if you're the lowly Dolphins or defending Super Bowl champs; the Pats will compete, make it a game, and likely lose in an infuriating way.
With a rookie QB, it's obvious that Josh McDaniels and Belichick have been handling Mac with kid gloves despite 10 already playing like an upper-half of the league QB.
Maybe Mac's inexperience and the shakiness of the current o-line situation are why the Patriots have been playing with the balls of Marshall Applewhite? Still, it's super disappointing to see, ESPECIALLY when Belichick was over a decade early to the 4th down frenzy that's sweeping the NFL.
I don't understand it like the late Big L. WHY ARE YOU PUNTING AT MIDFIELD?!??! It's not 2017 anymore!
I'll give McDaniels credit when it's warranted, he was great in the Tampa game, but he stunk on ice yesterday. The Brandon Bolden play was fucking dreadful. Even the buttoned-up Mike Reiss said it was "puzzling."
Earlier in the 1st half, Jakobi Meyers made a catch that looked like a first down that was spotted poorly.
Why challenge the spot when you can punt on 4th and inches? And by punt, I mean allow your SECOND blocked punt of the year after not having a single punt blocked since 2015.
This brings me to the entire reason I wrote this blog. I agree the play calling sucks, and the lack of aggressiveness is irritating to the point where I'm agreeing with Mina Kimes (who I have muted)
but I've seen many people online complaining about kneeling it out to end the first half. I don't understand the backlash.
Despite the recent influx of analytics, football is still the most emotional sport, and momentum matters. The latter half of that sentence may contradict what I'm about to say, but after a pretty significant break with the goal-line stand (where Dak MAY have scored on 3rd down), the Patriots were in a fantastic spot going into the half.
After forcing a fumble on 4th & goal (great play by Bentley), the Patriots got the ball back on their 20-yard line with 1:30 left and no time outs. Even in real-time, I was with the decision.
The Pats looked like it was 2007 on their first two drives, scoring two touchdowns on seven plays. A holding call wiped out what would've been Jakobi Meyers' first career TD (my man cannot catch a break), that would've made it 20-10, then the very next play Mac fumble after the RT who doesn't even deserve his name on my publication got blown up like the Gillette men's room.
I already mentioned the blocked punt, but the Patriots offense went back to earth after the first quarter; despite being severely out-possessed and out-gained, they had a lead. I know you want to try to score whenever you can, but with no timeouts and the lead ( with a rookie QB) AND getting the ball to start the second half, I think you count your lucky stars that the defense made two red-zone stops. Go into half knowing you get the ball to start the 3rd quarter.
The last thing you want to do is go three and out and give Dallas the ball back with a short field. They were driving the ball with ease. If they were able to get points after being stopped on 4th and goal, that's a huge momentum swing, and all the good things that happened for the Pats in the first half go out the window.
Again, I get being mad about the play-calling and lack of aggressiveness on 4th down, especially in OT when you're essentially doing exactly why you didn't punt against the Colts in 2009. It didn't matter where the Cowboys got the ball; they were going to score. Belichick needs to stop coaching scared (but taking it to half up 14-10 was smart situaitonal football).