These Moral Victories Need to Start Turning into Real Wins, BUT, You Have to Feel Great About the Future of the Patriots
After the Patriots lost by a single point to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, I wrote about how encouraged I am for the future of this organization.
While there are no moral victories in the NFL (even though the 2001 Patriots have spoken ad nauseam about their regular season game vs. the St. Louis Rams being THE game that made them realize they could win it all), the Patriots are in sort of a Schitt's Creek situation. Yeah, when you have Tom Brady, it's Super Bowl or bust. The season didn't even start until the AFC Championship Game, but this is a new era where we're living in a motel. In moral victory land, the Patriots record would be: 1 win, 1 loss, and 2 moral victories. Sadly, in reality, that means they're 1-3 and 0-3 at home.
ICYMI: I was at Gillette Stadium last night for the Bucs @ Patriots monsoon with my old man.
I am DISGUSTING.
I wanted to go to this game since the schedule came out, but I didn't think it was going to happen with Super Bowl-like prices at first. Last week, prices dropped to a spot where I was comfortable buying tickets, so I went full send in attempts to make a memory and flex on my dad that it was on my dime.
Idk if you've caught on from six calendar years of my blogs, but I'm a sentimental lad. Since high school, I've saved almost every birthday, Christmas, special occasion, etc. card I've gotten. I have boxes of my childhood toys in my basement. And, no, I'm not a hoarder. I'm sentimental; there's a difference! I don't have boxes of newspapers. I mean, sure, I have a couple newspapers saved, but you would too if you were a key loss to a 1-7 football team in the third division of our country's smallest state.
Even though I cashed in during the Super Bowl thanks to Brady and Gronk, I still fucking hate that they're gone. It sucks and breaks my clogged heart.
Despite said pain of seeing Brady and Gronk wear those fugly pewter jerseys, both are responsible for way more of my happiness than I'd like to admit. I wanted to see them play in what would likely be their last appearance in Foxboro. They're my guys, I love them, and I wanted to say goodbye since I never got the chance. Unfortunately, Gronk got hurt the day after I bought the tickets, and prices started to drop, but it's only fucking money. I'll be fine.
Like most men, I love a good cry and wanted to see what the Patriots had in store to pay tribute to Tommy in person. I got a couple of pics and vids of it, but I gotta say, I thought it'd be a little better. I certainly felt nostalgia and longed for the days of my youth, but like Scarface told us in "No Tears," there were no tears in the end.
As for the game going in, I honestly thought the Patriots could win, and clearly, I was right. Of course, they didn't, but they didn't get embarrassed either, going toe-to-toe with the defending Super Bowl champs, even though they entered the game with more rushing yards than they finished with.
Once the game started, Brady was just the opponent. I love him like a cool uncle, but make no mistakes about it; I wanted to win.
I've been saying it all season, but the Patriots defense is fantastic. In four games, opponents have scored 17, 6, 28 (7 came from a pic-6, and another INT set the Saints up deep in the red zone) and 19 points, all without 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. Matthew Judon looks like the best Patriot free agent since Stephon.
I didn't want the Patriots to draft Mac Jones, I wanted Justin Fields, but you have to be excited about his future with this team through four games. In a game where the Pats couldn't get the run going, and Tampa was blitzing non-stop, Mac played much better than you'd expect someone making their 4th career start in the most hyped-regular season game since maaaybe Pats-Colts in 2007, aka Super Bowl 41.5.
There's been a lot of hate online for how much Mac "dinks and dunks," but with how much the o-line has disappointed and the Pats handling him with kid gloves, idk wtf people want? Instant gratification isn't real life, people! Mac has not been the problem (outside of taking a couple sacks where it seemed like he had time to throw it away....but that'll come over time...again...4 starts).
Despite a blown golden opportunity when given great field position to start the game, JJ Taylor fumbling to squander even better field position to start the 2nd half (which really hurt because I was banging the JJ drum HARD)...
AND a questionable unsportsmanlike penalty on the king of sportsmanship Matthew Slater that not only took a turnover off the board but gave the Bucs better field position for what ended up being their only touchdown drive of the game; the Patriots were in a position to win late. I wish they went for it after the first Jakobi pass, I felt like they got a little too conservative at times, but that's just Belichick showing his true colors.
Again, I'm well aware the Patriots lost and dropped to 1-3 (with all three losses coming at home), but this team is legit, and the future is bright. They're hands down the best 1-3 team in the league and less than five plays away from 3-1. Did you know the 2001 Patriots started 1-3?
The New England Patriots (likely) won't win the Super Bowl this season, but they're building something, and I'm souped to see what happens once they can protect Mac and run the ball. Just know, we're gonna get out of this motel and back into the Super Bowl with Mac and Bill. Thank God we play the Texans this week.