By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka
FOXBORO (CBS) — Slightly over six years in the past, Trent Dilfer stood on the sector at Arrowhead Stadium and declared this with nice confidence: “The New England Patriots, let’s face it. They’re not good anymore.”
It took greater than a half-decade to return to fruition, however the evaluation lastly checks out.
Sunday’s grinding loss to the visiting 49ers was ugly. It was disagreeable. It featured nearly no positives for the house group. And it sunk the Patriots to 2-4, a spot they haven’t been since 2000, after they have been a franchise with zero Tremendous Bowl victories in its historical past.
Now enjoying within the shadow of six Tremendous Bowl banners, the Patriots have returned to the remainder of the soccer world.
With a thud.
Cam Newton was horrible, by no means as soon as wanting comfy within the pocket, seemingly unable to faucet into his copious expertise. And as Newton went, so did the remainder of the offense, which mustered simply two scoring drives — each discipline objectives — within the midst of a 33-6 loss to San Francisco.
Defensively, the story wasn’t any higher. Jeff Wilson — a third-year operating again who entered Sunday with 422 profession speeding yards in 21 video games — hit the 100-yard speeding mark simply 5 minutes into the third quarter, in a recreation that noticed him cross the aim line 3 times. Rookie operating again Jamycal Hasty had the perfect day of his younger profession with 57 yards on 9 carries, and Jimmy Garoppolo’s presence went from being the story of the sport to an entire afterthought. The quarterback didn’t matter a lot when the operating backs may run at will. Missed tackles and missed assignments led to arguably the very worst defensive efficiency the Patriots have ever put forth underneath Belichick at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots group that began the season wanting like a bunch of bullies has now been bullied in consecutive weeks.
Every week in the past, after all, there have been excuses. Loads of them — legitimate ones, too. The group had hardly practiced for 2 weeks. The beginning QB and the perfect defensive participant missed time on the COVID-19 checklist. Accidents throughout the offensive line led to piecemeal, on-the-fly fixes. Nothing felt proper, and the fired-up Broncos got here into Gillette Stadium and took benefit.
This week? There actually wasn’t any cheap purpose to get run out of their very own stadium. A aggressive loss could be comprehensible, contemplating the defending NFC champions have been on the town, coming off their finest efficiency of the season.
However a non-competitive, flat, uninspiring stomach flop of a displaying in a recreation that was supposed to be one of many marquee matchups of your complete 2020 schedule? That’s inexcusable.
Clearly, expectations weren’t practically as excessive as regular in New England coming into the season. The group was mediocre — by the franchise’s personal golden requirements — in 2019, preventing by way of the top of the 12 months and getting extinguished with a light-weight fizzle within the residence playoff loss to the Titans. Out went Tom Brady plus a half-dozen COVID opt-outs in a 12 months with no actual offseason work or preseason schedule, and the times of “The Season Doesn’t Begin Till The AFC Championship Recreation” have been clearly not returning this 12 months.
However with the brainpower of Invoice Belichick and Josh McDaniels, plus the promise and expertise displayed by Newton by way of the primary few weeks, the Patriots have been certainly nonetheless going to be a playoff group. They have been more likely to win the AFC East. And who is aware of what occurs from there? No group could be too excited in regards to the prospect of dealing with the Patriots in January.
As an alternative, there’s actuality. A 2-Four file, a serious deficit within the division, and a complete lot extra questions than solutions as to why issues are so unhealthy. Even those that predicted a return to earth for Belichick’s group in 2020 doubtless didn’t count on the descent to be so precipitous.
The New England Patriots? They’re certainly not good anymore. We’re all coming into some territory that no one has seen for the reason that flip of the century.
You’ll be able to e mail Michael Hurley or discover him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.