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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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March 4, 2024
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An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Patriots’ Recent Woes with Two Straight Losses

Starting the season at 10 and 0, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were hailed as Super Bowl favorites. For the first 11 weeks of the season, every bounce of the ball seemed to favor Bill Belichick and company. However, after a near loss in week 11 against the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots’ weak spots are quickly becoming more apparent.

When a team is undefeated, everything is simple. The media overemphasizes the positive aspects but minimizes the negative qualities of a team. The collective team struggles are often overlooked because ultimately, at the end of the day, there is still a goose egg under the loss section of their total team record.

But hey, we live in a society where immediacy is paramount. Once the Patriots acquired their first loss, critics easily dismissed the hard facts from the previous tengames. Despite Tom Brady’s previous success with a hobbled offensive line, the media is quick to distort the facts by focusing on just a glimpse of the Patriots’ portfolio this season.

Critical keywords are quickly changed from “young and talented defense,” to “young and inexperienced defense.”

Now, after two straight Sunday losses, critics are dismissing the Patriots as Super Bowl contenders altogether.

Let’s take a look at the facts.

Against the Eagles, the Patriots offensively were missing Gronkowski, Edelman and Dion Lewis, essentially Brady’s three best targets. On defense, threats like Dont’a Hightower, Dominique Easley and Justin Coleman were out with injuries as well.

Yes, most of these players will be out until postseason, but with only four games left, a dominant lead in the AFC East, and an easy remainder of the schedule, the Patriots are almost a lock for a playoff appearance. Beyond that, the Patriots are still poised to have home field advantage leading up to the Super Bowl.

In the final four games of the season, New England is set to face the Texans, Titans, Jets and Dolphins, of which, the Jets are the only team with a winning percentage over .500. Even with injuries, the Patriots are a far more talented and consistent organization than these competitors. If the Patriots win three of these four games, they will most likely clinch the first seed in the AFC.

I’ll take Tom Brady any day of the week against Brian Hoyer, Marcus Mariota, or Ryan Tannehill. Honestly, I’ll pick Brady even with his left arm tied behind his back. The guy is in a whole different universe when it comes to quarterback intangibles and talent.

So hey, I’ll say it if the Patriots won’t. The only reason we are losing is because of injuries.

There is no need for excuses, though. Ultimately, other teams are subject to injuries too, and in the end, we couldn’t pull out a win. Brady had some untimely and out-of-character mistakes, the receivers couldn’t catch the ball, and the special teams performed horrendously. If it takes this type of three non-offensive touchdowns to take down the Patriots – a pick six, a punt return, and a blocked punt – then I like our chances of winning.

The loss to the Broncos unfolded in similar fashion. Despite missing Gronkowski, Lewis, and others, the Patriots managed to look like the superior team for three quarters.

Ultimately, defensive lapses and injuries were the reasons for the loss.

Come playoff time, the roster should be back to full health. Statistically, the Patriots have been excellent. Generally, this is a strong predictor of success. Defensively, the Patriots are 14th in net total yards and 12th in total rushing yards allowed. Prior to the past two injury packed games, the Patriots ranked in the top ten in the NFL.

Offensively, the Patriots are Juggernauts. In total, they have the third most offensive yards in the NFL and the second most points earned. Having said that, the Patriots need improvement in their rushing game, averaging the 27th most rushing yards in the league.

Fortunately, the Patriots are still tied for fifth in most rushing touchdowns because of Blount’s power-running impact in the redzone.
Come postseason, the Patriots roster should be close to fully healed. If the team can even partially replicate their numbers during their first 10 games, they are almost guaranteed to make a Super Bowl appearance as the AFC Champions.