No need for panic, the New England Patriots will be fine

New England PatriotsSyndication The Indianapolis Star
New England PatriotsSyndication The Indianapolis Star /

Football fans are a reactionary bunch. New England Patriots fans are no different, especially yours truly. It’s obviously understandable to be miffed about the Patriots losing to the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night.

The team came out flat and made uncharacteristic mistakes all night. To be blunt, it felt like the Patriots of September and October made an appearance.

Mac Jones was straight up bad for three quarters, but let’s be real: No rookie quarterback is going to be at their best every single week. Jones and the offense fought valiantly to make the game interesting in the final minutes, but to no avail.

The Patriots made two critical mistakes on special teams. One was a blocked punt where the Colts really didn’t pull out anything special from the bag of tricks, New England just didn’t block the rush very well.

The other was an offsides penalty on what would have been a missed field goal by Mike Badgley. The penalty allowed Badgley to re-try, and he made it the second time. Speaking of penalties, the Patriots committed eight of them for 50 yards, while the Colts only had two for 13.

The cherry on top was the Patriots defense only allowing one touchdown drive by the Colts for 58 minutes, until Jonathan Taylor finally broke off a long touchdown run that ended up being the final nail in the coffin. Prior to that run, the Patriots were holding Taylor under four yards per carry.

Add that all up and you have a game where the New England Patriots did a lot to beat themselves, much like they did earlier on in the season when they struggled to close games out. Credit to the Colts for not making similar mistakes.

Cause for concern after the New England Patriots lose in Indianapolis?

A seven game win streak in the NFL doesn’t happen by accident. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. There’s absolutely no reason to panic, Patriots nation. This team is still good, and the big picture is still in the balance.

This Patriots defense is still one of the top units in the NFL and despite giving up the late score, they played very well. It was a rough game for the offense, but there were some moments in the second half that Josh McDaniels can build on.

As far as the special teams issues, everyone knows how much Bill Belichick emphasizes that phase of the game. It’s hard to imagine that unit repeating such a lackluster performance.

The Patriots will learn from this game and should be able to work out their issues in time for a pivotal matchup against the Buffalo Bills next week. The Patriots have an opportunity to put the Bills firmly in the rear view mirror in the race for the AFC East.

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The way the New England Patriots respond to this loss will really determine what this team is. If they play poorly against Buffalo, then maybe there is cause for concern. Until then, just chalk this game up as an off night.