Sunday was not kind to the Foxboro faithful.
The Patriots lost a heart-breaker this weekend to the Carolina Panthers 30-33 on a game winning 48 yard field goal courtesy of Graham Gano. Cam Newton seemed to return to form with 316 yards and 3 TD’s in the air and running for another TD. Now I’m not about to push the panic button and abandon ship, but the Patriots defense has given up a lot of points to opposing teams so far this season. 42, 20, 33 and 33 respectively to the Chiefs, Saints, Texans and Panthers, which lands the Patriots right smack in the middle of the road at 2-2. This marks the 4th game in a row New England has allowed a 300 plus yard passer this season. On the other hand the Patriots Offense has been clicking on all cylinders and putting up points (27, 36, 36, and 30) like they’re going out of style.
This current iteration of the Patriots reminds me of “The Greatest Show on Turf”. For those who don’t know “The Greatest Show on Turf” refers to the ’99-’03 Rams who were famous for their ability to put up 30-40 plus points a game with ease, but would also give up 30 plus on a weekly basis. Fun Fact: Those same Rams actually lost Super Bowl 36 to the Patriots back in 2001 and gave Tom Brady his first Super Bowl ring. The Rams also had a roster that consisted of such greats as Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Orlando Pace…you get the picture. They were good…really good.
If the Patriots are going to right the ship, then their defense has to be the starting point for improvement. Currently the Patriots own the 2nd worst defense in the NFL statistically and it seems they keep moving in the wrong direction. Don’t get me wrong, I have 100% confidence in Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia that they can and will turn things around, but they need to get moving. The NFL season isn’t as long as it seems and teams can slip out of playoff contention quickly once they end up on a losing streak. The fact that New England plays in a somewhat weak division will help their cause, but the Bills have beaten the Broncos and Falcons in back to back weeks. That’s a very impressive feat for any team in the NFL and the Bills are looking more and more like a legitimate threat this year. Heck, even the Jets are 2-2 and tied with New England for 2nd place in the AFC East! New England’s window of dominance may be closing faster than they think if they aren’t careful. The next few weeks are going to be pivotal for the Pats and I’m very curious to see what Belichick and company have up their sleeves.
This will be a short week as New England travels down to sunny Tampa Bay to take on a young, but very talented Buccaneers team this Thursday night.