Okay, so it was a win. Over another backup quarterback, of course. But based on how this season has progressed for the New England Patriots thus far, a win is a win is a win.
Which is better than a loss, since another of those would have slammed the door shut on the 2022 season.
This time, these dysfunctional Patriots did what they had to do – reaching down to pull out a game they had to win in order to stay alive for the 2023 postseason. Argue whatever you wish over their playoff “worthiness.” All things are relative.
The present universe for the Patriots has had them playing more of a role as an also-ran than as a contender or favorite. Already, that’s an unenviable (some might say untenable) position for a team – for an entire organization – that has built dynastic character traits over the previous two-plus decades. We’ve all heard the whispers, seen the actions, talked and lamented and opined about the reality.
Which is – these Patriots aren’t a very good team. But our standards are high, as are the organizations’ standards. And – they’re still alive in the current universe, and that’s all that really matters.
What matters is staying relative in the moment. What matters is the next opponent, the next game, the next snap of the football. What has happened through the first 17 weeks can’t be undone; rather, it can only be used as a reference point for improvement (or further failure) from this point forward.
As a Patriots’ fan, the best one can hope for is for this team to stay ‘in the moment.’ You should know it’s a delicate balance between success and failure. Against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, it was marginal success. Next week, at Buffalo with a shot to play-your-way into the postseason, it might not be.
Even so, these Patriots would still have an opportunity to continue this bizarro-world season with the right combination of other finishes within the AFC. Which, frankly, makes sense in the present world.
It’s different. It’s weird. But it’s also reality.
These aren’t the dynastic New England Patriots. But they’re also not the sad sack Patriots of yesteryear, either. What they are, and finally showed Sunday against Miami, is a team that has some guts, some talent, some discipline/intelligence issues and a good defense that deserves a good offense to compliment it.
But they’re still playing for something that matters today – the playoffs. And a win is still a win.
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Just win baby, but…
Bizarro-world is a great way to describe what could happen to these Patriots, should they NOT beat Buffalo Sunday in Buffalo.
If they lose to the Bills, the Patriots will need the NY Jets to beat the Dolphins, Cleveland will need to beat Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville must beat Tennessee. If the Week 18 schedule unfolds this way, New England ‘backs’ its’ way into the postseason with an 8-9 record.
It’s way more straightforward if they just win. Buffalo could end up resting starters based on the outcome of Saturday’s Kansas City-Las Vegas game. But isn’t it all about where you end up?
You’ve heard Bill Belichick talk A LOT about the need to play complementary football. That’s really been the issue with these Patriots – they haven’t done that.
But first, a compliment: Kyle Dugger is the first New England player since 1970 to score three defensive touchdowns in a single season. He gets an atta boy.
The defense has needed the offense to improve – or at least put points on the board. The offense has relied on the defense to score an NFL-leading seven touchdowns. The defense has seen special teams return some kicks AND make some lousy kicks of their own.
Can’t be quite so complimentary, if you ask me. But there was an 89-yard, fourth-quarter drive by the offense to pitch into the winning effort Sunday. There were also more mistakes – Trent Brown committed his league-leading 13th penalty, there was poor punting from Michael Palardy, and Big Kick Nick Folk missed a PAT that was nearly costly.
Compliments to the team for playing a bit more complementary football. But they ain’t all there, yet.
Always liked former Bengals QB and current CBS broadcaster Boomer Esiason as a player. Gutsy, sometimes brilliant, played well with the hand he was dealt. He’s also been honest and straightforward with much of his commentary and analysis on TV and radio.
But his comments to WEEI’s Greg Hill Show this week were short-sighted and out of character. And even a bit contradicting.
“Here’s the thing that I really dislike about Mac Jones if you want to get to the root of it,” Esiason told listeners. “His body language, his facial expressions, his gyrations on the field — piss me off. There’s a douchiness to them. I don’t know how else to explain it.”
Hey Boomer? Try NOT to explain it next time. Unless you’re in that locker room, you don’t know WHY Mac does what he does. Unless you’re getting coached like he is, or playing in similar situations – which you should recall you had plenty of yourself back in the day – maybe think about his reality, before a making “douchy” comment yourself?
Stay classy, Boomer.