May 18, 2024

Patriots

Patriots followers hoping for the workforce to throw within the towel in hopes of a excessive 2024 draft decide ought to be dissatisfied by Sunday’s consequence.

Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft earlier than Sunday’s recreation in opposition to Buffalo. AP
  • New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones celebrates his teammate Ezekiel Elliott’s touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills during first quarter NFL action at Gillette Stadium.

    Mac Jones talks comeback win over Payments, Belichick’s three hundredth win, and extra on WEEI

  • Adam Schefter says Invoice Belichick’s contract extension gained’t have an effect on his future with Patriots

COMMENTARY

You may argue that if a factor or two went the opposite manner in opposition to Philadelphia, Miami, or Las Vegas, this 2-5 Patriots workforce may be 4-3 and inside placing distance of first place within the AFC East, all with a showdown in Miami scheduled for Sunday. 

Dallas and New Orleans? Hey, even the ’03 workforce had Buffalo. Even the ’07 workforce had an ill-timed blemish on its report if I recall. 

You then begin enthusiastic about how the 2018 Colts and 2015 Chiefs each began 1-5 solely to make the playoffs, the latter of whom gained a wild card recreation at Houston earlier than shedding to New England within the divisional spherical. After the best way Sunday ended, it’s straightforward to start out getting delusions of grandeur with the slightest indication that the Patriots belonged on the soccer subject with a worthy opponent. Regardless of their struggles this season, the Payments are not less than that. 

Both manner, Sunday’s 29-25 win over Buffalo ought to function a satisfying second on this in any other case misplaced season for the Patriots. For the primary time all yr, the offensive line performed like a gaggle of competent professionals, giving Mac Jones the time he wanted not solely to soar to a 25-for-30 day, however to assist him produce the game-winning landing drive that his otherwise-uninspired resume was nonetheless sorely missing. Invoice Belichick earned his three hundredth profession win, which tied in properly on a day when the Patriots group (as soon as once more) celebrated its previous by inducting Mike Vrabel into the workforce’s corridor of fame. And, if you happen to’re into this kind of factor, the group didn’t even actually damage its 2024 draft place all that a lot with the Bears and Broncos each becoming a member of the win column over the weekend as properly. 

Combine within the Chamber of Commerce fall day within the Foxborough space, and it was a reasonably damned good day, general, to be a fan of the New England Patriots.

So, what’s with the vacancy? 

There are two methods to understand what occurred Sunday at Gillette; both because the stepping stone recreation we’ve been hoping this workforce was able to, or a preview of the purgatory that’s to return. Perhaps the workforce will begin sniffing .500 and who is aware of, the best way the NFL palms out playoff spots nowadays, it’s not out of the realm of risk. 

That is additionally nonetheless the identical workforce that was embarrassed by the hands of the Cowboys and Saints simply weeks in the past. Even within the win over Buffalo, the Patriots escaped with a handful of ignored penalties and errors that might have swayed the sport. Gamers bailed one another out on Sunday, however this unit hasn’t miraculously reworked into the ’85 Bears. 

What’s extra probably is that the mediocrity we’ve watched over the previous few seasons with this offense is beginning to gel, primarily as a result of offensive coordinator Invoice O’Brien dumbed the playbook down sufficient in order that Uncle Alabama Rico can higher react behind a patchwork offensive line. Penalties and turnovers will meet up with them, they usually’ll most likely lose in Miami on Sunday. Then, they’ll handle to beat the Commanders, and instantly — possibly — they’ll flip into that 8-9-win workforce you pegged them as again in August. After Sunday, the remaining schedule doesn’t look all that intimidating, does it? I feel I’ve seen this film earlier than. 

Simply whenever you had been getting used to the concept of cleansing home. 

On that, you would possibly wish to sit tight. Invoice Belichick isn’t going wherever. Mac Jones isn’t going wherever, significantly if he performs like he did on Sunday extra typically. He’ll be a cut price, which is one thing the Patriots love greater than something. Would possibly I remind you, the love affair this area has with Tom Brady is a product of Brady being prepared to play ball, financially, with the Krafts. If the quarterback had demanded what he was price, he would have gained much more than one among his Tremendous Bowl titles elsewhere. Thus, the Patriot Method was born. 

The system isn’t going wherever. The roster isn’t altering. The mantra will at all times dwell and breathe beneath the identical lineage on workforce sidelines. That is the best way the checkbook will likely be balanced without end and that’s the best way the Krafts prefer it. If Invoice handles the cash this properly for an additional few seasons, who is aware of what number of lighthouses they’ll construct. 

On Sunday morning, NFL Community’s Ian Rappaport disguised a transparent tip from Belichick’s camp as journalism in reporting the pinnacle coach had signed a “new,” multi-year, “profitable” contract with the workforce previous to this season. It’s a technique of claiming that the workforce is, and without end will likely be, in Belichick’s palms. Sure, he’ll be making personnel selections previous to the commerce deadline. In fact he’ll be right here within the spring to construct the roster for 2024. String a few wins collectively and the noise begins getting louder about their divisional report. The long run doesn’t appear such a urgent concern. 

Which can make this season loads like final season. And the yr earlier than that. And even the yr earlier than that. 

So whereas Sunday delivered a wildly entertaining soccer recreation earlier than the loudest crowd in fairly a while at Gillette, it’s tough to have religion that what we watched was any type of turnaround. In the event that they handle to tug a miracle out of Miami, a spot the place Al Bundy most likely has extra wins, then the dialog continues to shift. All of the extra remarkably, I might add. 

However you and I each know what’s going to occur. This workforce will discover seven extra wins someplace, they usually’ll chase the postseason till the ultimate week or so. Right here’s the fifteenth decide in subsequent yr’s draft. Wash. Rinse.

The season will likely be seen as a hit, and all that loopy speak about firing Invoice will simply kind of float away. The Patriots are adequate to be attention-grabbing. That appears to be adequate for the parents who signal the checks at Patriot Place. 

Regardless of. The Patriots are winners once more, and the coach is signed for a number of years nonetheless at vital {dollars}. Nothing goes to alter. That is it. That is the philosophy. That is the personnel. In the event you thought all-time low was the one manner up, you’re going to be ready for the elevator for a while. 

Don’t fear, it’s a reasonably crowded platform. We’re going to be right here for some time.