The New England Patriots might be down right now, but they’re far from out – remember, we’ve all seen this exact same script before.
It always seems to be the Kansas City Chiefs who spark speculation that the New England Patriots’ two-decade-long dynasty is finally coming to a close. Following a 23-16 loss in Foxborough Sunday evening to the Chiefs, the Patriots dropped to 10-3 on the season… which is leaving many fans worried after the team lost their second straight game in rather ugly fashion.
Both Sunday’s game and the prior week’s game in Houston against the Texans saw fairly similar outcomes. The Patriots fell behind in the first half and couldn’t quite mount the complete comeback towards the end of the game.
Against the Chiefs, it was 23 points that the Patriots couldn’t overcome. Against the Texans, it was 21 points. Both times, it was more than enough to sink New England, especially given the mediocre state of this inefficient Patriots offense.
Despite the close, one-possession final scores, neither one quite tells the whole story. Looking at on-field performance, it seems like some sort of miracle that the Patriots were able to have even a chance to win both games.
That being said, fans shouldn’t feel the team is dead in the water yet.
In 2014, following a brutal 41-14 shellacking at the hands of (who else?) the Chiefs, Bill Belichick famously said: “We’re on to Cincinnati.” He said it over and over again in his press conference following the bad New England loss, refusing to speculate about Tom Brady’s future or play ball with the questions the assembled press all wanted him to answer.
The Patriots followed up the loss in Kansas City by ringing off seven consecutive wins before they eventually defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49 that February.
The biggest media takeaway following that Chiefs game was that the Patriots offense just didn’t have what it took anymore; that Tom Brady was washed up, and the Patriots wouldn’t be able to win with him at the helm.
While these statements weren’t necessarily uncalled for at the time – seeing that the offense had gained 300 yards just once at that point in the season back in 2014 – they certainly proved to be premature, as New England went on to gain at least 300 offensive yards in each of their next 10 games, only failing to do so when resting starters in the final weeks of the season.
Does that mean that this year’s Patriots offense will necessarily come to life in the coming weeks as we inch closer towards the playoffs? Not necessarily, but it’s also not as farfetched as it may seem.
We’ve seen this Patriots squad put points on the board earlier in the season, and they still rank eighth in points despite scoring more than 20 points only once in their past five games. This offense is certainly capable of turning it around, and with the league’s top defense backing them up, they may not have to improve much to give the Patriots a seventh ring when all is finally said and done.