The New England Patriots Could Be Headed For Disaster

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 | 0


Last night (Mon., September 29, 2014) the New England Patriots suffered a humiliating 41-14 defeat at the hands the Kansas City Chiefs (watch highlights here), evening their record at 2-2 and raising many daunting questions about the team’s short term success after a decade-long reign as one of the best teams in the NFL.

The Patriots surprised by losing their opening game in Miami, but quieted many of the doubters (at least for the time being) by destroying the disheveled Minnesota Vikings 30-7 in Week 2. They did far less to impress in defeating the lowly Oakland Raiders 16-9 in Week 3.

They were 2-1, but 37-year-old quarterback Tom Brady suddenly didn’t look himself. He was missing throws that would have been automatic in years past, faced with mounting pressure due to his patchwork offensive line.

His struggling teammates didn’t help much, as there were holes on both sides of the ball. But the wheels truly came off last night, marking perhaps the ugliest game in the Brady/Belichick Era and leaving people wondering if we had seen the beginning of the end for the once-dominant franchise.

True, that may be an overreaction, but there are also causes for concern in New England. After all, they are competing in the relatively soft AFC East, where Brady’s competition at quarterback now includes Ryan Tannehill, Geno Smith, and Kyle Orton. Brady should be able to destroy those signal callers in a head-to-head match-up, yet the Pats may be hard-pressed to win the division this year.

Brady’s receivers and running backs, though talented on paper, were also doing him no favors. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen had formed an inconsistent backfield duo with precious little time to make plays develop. Wide receivers Kenbrell Tompkins and Aaron Dobson were healthy scratches for Monday Night Football, and the team cannot depend on slot man Julian Edelman as much as they have been; he’s only one man.

All-world tight end Rob Gronkowski also isn’t fully healed from the torn ACL he endured in just December of last year. No normal human would be even close to back from such a serious injury. Gronkowski may already have three touchdowns this year, but it’s fairly obvious that he’s not even close to his former self.

The pass protection just isn’t there for Brady. Trading longtime Pro Bowler Logan Mankins undoubtedly harmed the line this season, but there are issues that run deeper than that. Brady and company simply don’t have the time to find an open read and create offense.

There are issues with the defense as well. The team was absolutely gashed by Kansas City running backs Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis last night. While those two may arguably be the most dangerous running back tandem in the league, New England couldn’t stop Kansas City through the air or on the ground.

Arrowhead Stadium is one of the hardest places to play; yet the Patriots were simply blown out.

Brady was benched for the first time in his career, and we were left wondering if the once-great Pats were gone for good.

The bottom line is that owner Robert Kraft did not spend the money necessary to sustain the kind of success they are used to in New England. They let Mankins go instead of paying him, and they haven’t brought enough talent along recently. Their unwillingness to go get a new receiver and some offensive linemen will haunt them this year, and it could get much worse than it already is.

They used to add that talent through the draft by making shrewd moves to stockpile tons of choices, but that strategy hasn’t been working as much as it has in the past, either.

At the heart of the matter, Brady may just be getting old. It happens to even the best, and Brady’s legacy will be one of the best ever regardless of what happens this season.

There was going to be a time when Brady and Belichick eventually lost their edge. It just didn’t seem like it would come so soon, but it the Pats don’t correct a ton of big issues fast; their decline will be rather steep. Can they rebound to take the AFC East for another season under Brady, or has his time at the top came and went?

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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