The Washington Commanders are trying to lose. The New England Patriots are trying to win. But in the end, it didn't matter.
The Patriots lost again in Week 9, falling at home to a team that is trying to tank. The Pats aren't, at least outwardly, but you'd think they are based on how they performed on Sunday.
Another lackluster effort. Another winnable game that slipped away. And yes, another loss.
Patriots Week 9 Loss
With their 20-17 loss to the Commanders on Sunday, the Patriots gave their fans another reminder of just how terrible they are. There were a lot of empty seats at Gillette Stadium despite it being a beautiful fall day in Foxborough, and there will be even more going forward as the weather cools.
This game should've been a gimme for New England. Not only were the Pats at home, but they were also playing a team that's already waved the white flag. Washington traded away two of its best defenders at the trade deadline earlier this week, effectively punting on the season and making its abysmal defense even more shorthanded.
The Patriots couldn't take advantage, unfortunately, because their offense was severely depleted. Kendrick Bourne (knee) and DeVante Parker (concussion) both went down with injuries last week, leaving Mac Jones with even fewer weapons than usual.
Still, that's no excuse. New England should have won this game regardless, but underperformed in all three phases of the game. Special teams committed several back-breaking penalties. The defense didn't feast on Sam Howell (the NFL's most-sacked QB) as it should have, and the offense didn't make plays when it needed to.
And the game ended as virtually all Patriots games have ended this year; with New England trailing by a score in the final minutes and ultimately finding a way to come up short. This time it was JuJu Smith-Schuster who was at fault, dropping an easily catchable throw from Jones to seal the Patriots' fate.
The Commanders are trying to tank and probably would've preferred to lose here. Unfortunately for them, the Patriots did a better job of it without even trying.
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