The Patriots lost to the Eagles…at Gillette Stadium, mind you! In the aftermath of what may very well go down as the most improbable sports event of 2015, it’s easy to understand the mixed emotions surrounding the New England Patriots franchise. On one hand you’ve got those who never liked the Pats anyways and are glad to witness what they hope to be the decline of an empire. Then you have the faithful sons and daughters of Boston who are either too depressed to handle the burdens of week or too angry and disappointed to care about anything having to do with football (particularly the Patriots).
With that being said, it’s necessary for both parties to take matters into perspective. On Sunday December 6, 2015, the Philadelphia Eagles marched into Gillette Stadium (Pats Nation headquarters) and flipped the script on what was projected to be a slaughter by the home team. I mean, Jimmy was supposed to take over in the second half! Yes, Jimmy Garoppolo, the Patriot’s second string QB and backup to arguably the greatest offensive play-caller to ever step on the gridiron. Instead, we found ourselves trading blows with the Eagles and struggling to score against a defense that had let up 90 points in the two previous weeks. Whatever happened to the being the best team in football? Whatever happened to Brady’s revenge on the league for the off-season Deflate Gate scandal? After having suffered the first loss of the season just the week prior in Denver, the last thing Pats fans needed was another one…at home…against arguably the worst defense in the NFL. However, the fact of the matter is that none of it means anything. As a matter of fact, there are several reasons why Sunday night’s loss to the Eagles should be a positive for Patriots fans.
First of all, let’s look at the bigger situation. Our two best players (excluding # 12) were out of the game. Our offensive line was decimated, as it has been for pretty much the entire season. We had already lost a tough one the week prior so it’s not like we had to worry about keeping a perfect record anymore. What’s another loss? Losing to the Eagles didn’t matter because at the end of the day, we’re still exactly where we were before ranking-wise – at the top of our division. The analysts may not see it that way but given the remaining schedule and our pretty stellar record (by anyone else’s standards), losing to a team as bad as the Eagles doesn’t actually hurt us.
At least that’s what Bill Belichick was most likely thinking. To him, Sunday night’s game was probably no different than an early pre-season game or a mid-season practice. With the absence of Gronk and Edleman, the Patriots’ head coach most likely saw the opportunity to do some thorough analysis. While the rest of the world was focused on who we don’t have (Gronk and Edleman to name a few), Belichick was focused on who we DO have. Would you like to know why? SIMPLE! It’s because he’s the greatest coach to ever live. As history has taught us Patriots fans, ol’ Bill has never cared about the stats sheets. He’s never cared about what’s writen down on paper. That’s the same mentality that caused us to pretty much forfeit the Bills game last year – yes, if you remember, that’s the year we won the Super Bowl (one of them, at least. Heck, it’s the same mentality that caused him to place trust int that skinny awkward kid with the golden arm more than a decade ago. Bill probably figured: “Hey instead of crying over spilt milk, let’s focus on what’s left in the glass. Let’s put our attention on the Brandon LaFell’s and the Scott Chandler’s and the Keshawn Martin’s. Let’s get them in a rhythm and get them some confidence for the rest of the year and most importantly, the post-season.”
For as long as I can remember, Bill Belichick has been focused on the future. It’s almost as if the guy doesn’t have a memory. “Onto Cincinnati…” remember? I mean did any of you guys notice how neither him nor Tom Brady were ever raddled throughout the game? My guess is they came into the game hoping to win yet prepared to lose. It was never about the W. It was about planting seeds for the remainder of the season. It was about building depth.
A Patriots offense with depth – imagine that! Imagine having solid second options. Imagine not having to go to Gronk or Edleman or Amendola every time. Having the likes of LaFell and Chandler playing at their best would do so much for the team. This would open up the playbook like nothing else. Imagine having single coverage on Gronk because Chandler is a legitimate threat on the other side of the formation. Imagine having the safeties back because LaFell could go deep at any time. That would mean having the solid run game we’ve been trying to establish all year, which would turn into play action passes to Danny and Julian. Ultimately, his assertiveness along with the ability to turn average players into stars is what has made the legend that is Bill Belichick – and that’s what makes him the greatest coach of all time.
Now I’m not saying we’re going to win every game from this point forward (Houston’s defense looks pretty damn good). I’m not even saying we’re winning the Super Bowl this year. What I am saying is we’ve been through worst. What I am saying is IN BILL I TRUST. I’m saying that if you look at the big picture, come time to play post-season football (the part that actually matters) the Patriots could be even better than they were at the start of the season. All I’m saying is defenses beware. Bill Belichick is a mastermind and if I were a defensive coordinator not named Matt Patricia, I would be worried. And as a side note to all you fair-weather Pats fans, if you find yourself questioning your faith in the Patriots under Belichick and Brady, then you clearly haven’t learned anything from last year and should probably get rid of your “favorite Patriots hoodie” – you are no longer welcomed in the Nation. Lastly, to the other thirty-one teams and their fans, GAME ON.