Is there a Patriots regular season loss worse than the Miracle in Miami?
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I'm still not sure what happened yesterday. I'm not mad or upset. I'm just annoyed.
That final play is the kind of thing I never thought I would see a Bill Belichick-coached team lose on. It's like being right in front of the finish line in Mario Kart, getting hit by a blue shell and having someone else whiz right by you to win.
Blowouts happen to everyone and those suck. It's happened a few times this season. But yesterday's loss was quite possibly the biggest punch to the dick I've ever felt. So forget Kansas City in 2014, forget Detroit and Tennessee this year, forget 4th and 2 in 2009. The Miracle in Miami has to be the worst regular season loss in the Belichick era. When you lose so bad that there's a Wikipedia page about it, that really is some ridiculous shit.
I can explain the losses against Kansas City and the like - the Patriots just didn't show up. This one, to quote The Who, I can't explain.
A lot of people have been saying this year's Patriots team isn't as good as previous years, and they're right. I'm not just now realizing this, but it was never more apparent to me than yesterday. We've seen a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes from them and way more ridiculous losses than I think we're used to.
This one is especially excruciating at every level - the missed extra point and missed field goal, Tom Brady taking a sack to end the first half with no timeouts left, Gronk being on the field on the final play, etc. Stuff like that happening in the same game is completely baffling.
The run defense let 10,000-year-old Frank Gore and Brandon Bolden run all over them, which is completely inexcusable. One week, I think they've figured it out and then the next they do something like this. I knew it was going to be a weird game once the Dolphins scored on their first two possessions.
Stephen Gostkowski is one of the most accurate kickers the Patriots have ever had, but in the last few years, he's come up small in some big moments. In fairness to him, no one could have known a missed extra point and a missed field goal would turn out to be a big moment in a game that didn't cost the Patriots their season, but still. You gotta hit those.
I have no idea what Brady was thinking when he got sacked. He's always very aware of the situation. To see him have a mental lapse like that literally made me scratch my head. He owned up to it, of course, because he's still a God, but that's the kind of uncharacteristic mistake I feel like we've seen more of this year than ever before. He should have thrown that ball away a second or two before he got sacked.
And why in the blue hell was Gronk out there on the last play? You know Ryan Tannehill isn't chucking it 70 yards down field. If you're going to put a member of the offense out there, why wasn't Josh Gordon the one in that position? The Patriots used him as a defensive back in Chicago when they went for the win at the end of that game, and he played a role in stopping Kevin White from scoring. If nothing else, Gordon is faster than Gronk and might have had a chance to make a play.
It's moot now, but Devin McCourty probably should have been the one out there above Gronk and, hypothetically speaking of course, Gordon.
I know some people are pissed at Gronk for not making that play, and I sort of understand it. But I don't think he deserves as much backlash as he's getting. He should have never been put in that position in the first place, as that's on the coaching staff. Not only that, everyone has been screaming for a vintage Gronk performance and they finally got it. Eight catches for 107 yards and a touchdown is easily the best stat line he's had this season and he looked pretty solid. The touchdown catch in particular was a thing of beauty.
I believe Brady when he says this loss won't linger. I don't think he or Belichick would let it. Even though this team isn't as good as some of the others, there are enough veterans from the last three Super Bowl appearances who are still here and know how to get back on track.
And the good news is even though the Patriots likely won't get the No. 1 seed, they still control their own destiny for the No. 2 seed. Obviously this Sunday's game in Pittsburgh is huge even though they lost to the....heh....heheheheh....Raiders. If the Patriots can win that one, the final two games against the Jets and Bills should be mindless beatdowns.
Hopefully this is all out of their system now. Because if a loss like this happens in the playoffs, we're never gonna hear the end of it.