Remember when the New England Patriots were supposed to dominate the NFL and go 16-0?
Well, so far, that hasn’t been the case.
The Patriots are 2-2, they trail the Bills (3-1) in the AFC East, and they rank 31st in the league in scoring defense (32.0 points allowed per game). In fact, New England has allowed 33+ points in three of its first four games and lost, 33-30, at home against Carolina on Sunday.
What is going on with the Patriots this year?
“You got to go back, I would say, a little further than just this year,” CBS Sports NFL analyst Jon Beason said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “A lot of people want to talk about the injuries, but for me, I think it’s deeper than that. Prior to the last two Super Bowls – obviously they could have lost both of those as well – I think they were kind of hanging their hat on the fact that Brady (would) handle the offense and (that Bill Belichick would find players to) coach up (on defense) who (are) smart (and) consistent, and that’s why we’re going to win.”
The Patriots, however, kept losing Super Bowls.
“So what do you do?” Beason asked. “You bring in (Darrelle) Revis, you bring in Brandon Browner – guys with a unique skill set above the Xs and Os that kind of pushed them over the top. So now that formula they’ve had, they’ve had exceptional talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The cornerback position (is a position) they paid for, and over the last few years, they’ve let these guys walk out.”
Even the Patriots’ last two Super Bowl wins weren’t slam dunks. They needed a goal-line stand to survive the Seahawks, and they trailed the Falcons by 25.
“These Super Bowls have been really close,” Beason said. “It’s really been a lack of play-calling from the Falcons or you could even say play-calling from the Seahawks on the 1-yard line with Marshawn Lynch on your team and you throw the football. That’s the biggest thing. You let Chandler Jones walk out, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan – guys that have unique skill sets. Sometimes it’s not about being in position; it’s about having the athletic ability to make those plays. I think more so in the secondary. I think that’s failing them in the front seven with injuries, with Ron Ninkovich retiring.”
The Patriots allowed 42 points against Kansas City in Week 1, gave up 33 points to Deshaun Watson and Houston in Week 3, and allowed 30 points over the final three quarters against Carolina in Week 4.
“The Patriots, we all thought, looked unbelievable on paper,” Beason said, “and now you look at it, they don’t look so great.”
New England plays each of its next two games on the road: at Tampa Bay (2-1) this Thursday and at the Jets (2-2) on Oct. 15. Kickoff is slated for 8:25 and 1 p.m. ET, respectively.