“…it’s not always as bad as it looks, and it’s not always as good.”
WR Deion Branch said those words in the locker room today and it rings true after the Pats’ blowout 34-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns Sunday. The Patriots were 6-1 going into the game and owned the best record in football. Patriot Nation was surprised that their Patriots were sitting atop the NFL after the team suffered so many key injuries during training camp. The team was in transition with so many rookies and second-year players, but here they were, #1 in the league. They were the darlings of the sports columnists throughout the week. Then, yesterday’s loss was more of a B-52 nosedive back to reality rather than a crash. Perhaps the Patriots were not as great a team as we thought. Maybe, but maybe not.
As Branch said, it’s not as bad or as good as it looks. We as fans probably got a little too high on the Pats this past week, and many will probably get too low after yesterday’s loss. Such is the way in the NFL. Teams go through these same ups and downs throughout a season, and the champs are the ones who don’t get too down on themselves, but come back swinging. The blowout yesterday was a wake-up call to a young team that can’t get too high on themselves, but at the same time, they need to know that they were a better team than the one that played yesterday.
Belichick told the team as much today in meetings. The team expected a chew-out of epic proportions, but instead was reassured that what they are is not the team that played yesterday. Maybe they’re not the one that’s the best in the NFL, at least not yet, but they’re a good team. Let’s see if they can respond against a TOUGH opponent this Sunday night against the Steelers.