The Patriots are again making waves, but this time it’s for losing. Two games in a row at that. I’m just not sure why everyone is so happy about it. Clearly this means the zombie apocalypse is finally upon us. It was already almost a sure thing when Washington took over top spot in their division, but this just cements it. New England actually lost at home to boot!
After looking at some of the calls in the Denver game and how the poorest officiating crew from the week before was reassigned to the game against the Eagles it would be easy to prove an NFL officiating conspiracy (zebragate). You could also look at how the Patriots have overpopulated the hospital this season. Obviously it was discovered how the players cheated when they filled out their coverage forms so now the doctors are providing less than adequate care in an effort to stunt injury recovery rates (healthcaregate). At the rate replacement players have dropped passes (33% of incompletions against the Eagles were dropped strikes) you could even go so far as to believe perhaps there were some text message conversations between equipment staff and quarterbacks of opposing teams to tamper with the gloves of Patriots receivers in a bathroom stall (Isotonergate).
Tom Brady won’t do that though. So much was made about his comments toward officials after the loss to Denver. He was clearly frustrated on the field and he wasn’t exactly calm when he spoke to the press afterward. And if you just read the headlines and saw “I’ve never been so visibly pissed off after a loss” you’d have cause to think it was all about the calls. What he actually said was just the honesty of an athlete who puts it all out there every single game and expects the same from his teammates and everyone around him. He’s used to a certain level of success and when it slips out of his control it’s obviously aggravating:
“It was a very hard loss,” Brady said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been so visibly pissed off after a loss. And I think everyone felt the same way. Hopefully we can use it as motivation going forward. Like I said, there’s things that we could have done better. And it’s certainly not to leave it up to a call here or a call there or one player. There’s things across the board that we need to do a better job of and we can do a better job of. And that’s what the focus is going to be this week.”
“I’m certainly not going to sit here and blame the officiating. Some days you get the calls, some days you don’t. We’re going to have to figure out what we need to do better going forward so we don’t get them, and then obviously the things that we can control, which is our play and our execution, do a better job there.”
Yes, he asked some questions about the officiating but he’s not dwelling on it. Then, after following up with a very hard second loss to lowly Philadelphia there was a whirlwind of doubt being cast on the team from outside. His depleted line up struggled, especially on special teams but more importantly on two or three timely plays where they just needed to have a catch or a big play. For the first time they actually looked kind of disorganized. Instead of pointing gingers at receivers for unfinished routes and dropped catches, and instead of blaming special teams for giving up three touchdowns, he had only this to say:
“If I turn the ball over twice, I don’t think we’re going to have the chance to win many games…So I think that’s what it comes down to….When I’m throwing it away, you’ve got to throw the ball away. I think that’s, like, basic quarterbacking. You throw it and I didn’t get enough on it, and he’s there in the end zone and makes the play. That was just a bad play by me. I mean, no one can save us from that. That’s my fault.”
Brady isn’t pressing any panic buttons. After all, to quote my brother, 10-2 isn’t abysmal. More importantly, he’s not pointing fingers. It’s not because he’s just trying to deflect the blame either to be the bigger person. It’s because he actually does need to be better and smarter than he was this past Sunday. He’s the ultimate competitor, leader, and team player.