OK, OK. The defense is bad. Alright? We get it.

What are fans supposed to do about it? Sit around and be miserable until the inevitable playoff loss? I guess so.

The Patriots secondary was once again shredded by a bottom-tier quarterback, albeit one who once took a team to a Super Bowl. What was more worrisome however, was the ease with which the Washington Redskins were able to run the ball on the usually stout run defense of the Patriots. Tom Brady threw a 4th quarter interception in the end zone when a field goal would’ve been enough to put the game away. Jerod Mayo made the big play in the end, snatching an interception off a tipped pass at the 7-yard line to seal the win for New England, which is now 10-3 on the season.

Former Patriot Rodney Harrison on NBC, had quite a bit to say about the Patriots last night, saying the following on Football Night in America:

Harrison on Tom Brady’s frustration (yelling on sideline with offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien): “I’ve seen Tom Brady play a lot on the other side of the field. I saw some things today that I really haven’t seen too much; and that is balls hitting the ground, open receivers and Tom Brady missing them. That is why there was a little bit of frustration today. You just are not used to seeing this.”

Harrison: “I played six years with him and I have never seen him this frustrated, yelling back and forth with an offensive coordinator. But that is why he is frustrated, because offensively, they weren’t clicking, and defensively he feels like he has to shoulder a lot of the pressure because that defense is so bad.”

Harrison: “They won a football game but they should be concerned because that secondary is probably the worst secondary I’ve seen in the last decade. It’s been proven the last two years in the playoffs, if Brady’s off just a little bit they’re vulnerable to lose.”

Dan Patrick to Harrison: “They have two offensive players playing in the secondary. Did it just sneak up on Bill (Belichick) that he may need another defensive back this year?”

Harrison: “You have to ask Bill that. I’m done trying to figure it out, Dan. I can’t figure it out!”

Worst secondary he’s seen in the last decade. I can’t say Rodney is wrong, but it is ironic that the guy who fueled so much on bulletin board material is now providing it to his former team.

We may actually get a break from talk about the lousy defense this week, with Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos on the schedule. This will be tough one, not just because of the Denver defense, but also because weird things always seem to happen to the Patriots in Denver.

For today, the blow up on the sideline between Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien will get most of the headlines, as Mike Reiss, Greg A. Bedard and Ron Borges   all made it their main story of the day.

Here are some other takeaways from this one:

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: Time running out for Patriots’ defense – Christopher Price

Mayo picks up defense in the end – Tom E Curran has Jerod Mayo’s interception saving the game for New England.

Giving in is not their style – Michael Whitmer says that the defense might not have dug itself out of the star cellar, but they made some big plays at the right times to seal the win.

White knows his place in the scheme of things – It’s a short article, but I’m glad someone saw fit to write about Tracy White’s role on that final defensive play. Mark Farinella has the special teams star talking about his increased role on defense.

Rob Gronkowski re-establishes TD record – This week won’t be Brady vs Tebow. This week is GRONK vs Tebow. Karen Guregian has the force-of-nature tight end getting into the record books.

Wilfork didn’t let his big chance slip – The Globe notebook has Vince Wilfork getting his first career TD. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport and the Patriots Journal have more on Wilfork.


49 thoughts on “Patriots Continue Death March Towards Playoff Loss With Another Lousy Win

  1. Dear BSMW,


    "Oh I'm not saying…."

    Signed, Mazz


  2. Let me be the first to say I love the Tim Tebow story. I could care less about his religion, his "magic", his inability to throw, his ability to run, or the fact that his teammates love playing with him and if you believe the press believe they will win because of him…no….I love the story because John Fox who I think is the most underrated coach in the league going back to his days in NY with the Giants, took the cards he was dealt…instituted an offense seen mostly at Nebraska 20 years ago (option I, wishbone) and he is winning in today's NFL. What does that tell you about all the other teams in the league who perennially suck because their QB can't throw or make decisions. It tells me they have coaches who aren't creative and who are so arrogantly pounding square pegs into round holes that they forget the object of the game is to win. I am not saying every situation has a Tim Tebow in hiding sitting on the bench. I am saying that Fox's success in Denver makes Tony Sparano, Pete Carroll, Jim Caldwell, Norv Turner and a host of others look so dumb that the idea they will continue to coach in this league now or in the future is mind numbing. What Fox is doing is exposing the lack of creativity in the "spread formation, pass happy" league. With the new rules he has still found a way for his team to play defense and win nail biters in the fourth quarter. Bill Parcells must be smiling down in Florida as he watches Denver play. Did I mention Fox is doing all this in spite of a team President (John Elway) who hates the way the team is playing. He wants a prototypical QB with a big arm, good vision and the ability to throw a dart 50 yards down the field…like he did. It is a great story. Great for the media. Great for the fans. Great for the league. I won't mind 6 days of Tebow talk. Maybe it will force Bill Belichick's defense to concentrate on a game plan and do their job. Its going to be fun.


      1. No…I don't care about those angles. To me they are fluff…easy stories the media can glom onto because they are lazy. I have no interest in any of those things.


  3. Your "no pass rush" refrain is invalid. They actually have a pretty good pass rush now, with a nice front 4 of Love, Wilfork, Carter, and Anderson. Grossman took some punishing hits (one of which was an awful roughing call that negated an INT). Another he got crushed in the end zone where that same "no pass rush" recovered the fumble for a touchdown.

    Whining about the pass rush was topical in Week 1. Have you turned on your TV since then or do you just like to rant?


  4. Andre Cater's pretty good. Their pass rush, while inconsistent at times, is much better than it has been the last couple of years. Don't get me wrong. It's not great or anything but at least there's a semblance of it.


  5. This is great analysis George, not gloom and doom – spot on. I am not going to sit here and complain nonstop about the team, but the fact that the defense is getting shredded by bad QBs is alarming and a lot of that falls on the personnel decisions over the past few years.


  6. They won a Super Bowl with Dillon and made it to the Super Bowl with Moss. They only guy that didn't work that list is Haynesworth…I suppose the jury is still out on Ocho since he's still on the team and the Pats haven't played a playoff game yet.

    If Newsome had guys with the "talent" of Butler, Merriwether and Wilhite, he would have cut them too.


  7. Love the early line Bruce, I was saying this weeks ago. Are we fans supposed to not enjoy a single week because the DEF shortcomings will cacth up to them likley in the 2nd or 3rd round of the playoffs? The regular season has come to mean nothing around here for all sports. We've been scolded for enjoying a regular season win(s) and not looking towards the doom and gloom ahead. Can't I just watch it week in and week out, and just see what happens on gameday. I've stopped reading local media fodder.


  8. So George…

    If I understand your three posts…the Pats have gone backwards personnel wise since 2007. They have no one to throw to because they have not developed a young receiver. Their defense cannot stop anyone because they have not developed a playmaker in 3 years. Let's say I agree with your observations…how do you explain 14-2 last year and something either 13-3 or 12-4 this year? Oh wait I know… they have a great QB and a great coach which allows them to over come the deficiencies during the regular season.

    Here is my counter argument. I much prefer to have a team that wins ugly, because no one gets style points in the NFL, and then have a chance to win in the playoffs, where anything can happen, than to have a bottoming out rebuilding series of years (see Miami or Buffalo or Seattle or SD or Jax or how many other teams in the league that do not win consistently). Do I think the Patriots have made great personnel decisions…no. Do I think they have been arrogant or problematic…they are 10-3 with a 2 1/2 game lead in their division! You should me a perfect team, including Green Bay who also gives up a ton of yards. There isn't one. Every team has a hole or two on its roster. Its how you cover for it that separates the men from the boys. The Patriots consistently cover those holes better than any team in the league. Am I saying the Pats will win the SB…who knows. I am saying they have just as good a chance of getting there as any other team. So what more do you want…oh wait I know…STYLE POINTS.


    1. I'm going to piggyback on your point LTD. I was listening earlier to M&M (about 2 minutes worth) and a caller and Troy Brown mentioned how the NFL isn't as good as is once was because of dumb rules/penalties favored towards the offense. The DEF simply cannot perform like it once did because of this. I agree with this to some extent and here's why. Fans and media are quick to point to the NYG and how great a front 7 they have with players like Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Kiwi, Umenyiora, Boley, and Canty. There have a great pass rush and wreak havoc on QB's. What has that got them? 7-6 record (thanks to Eli's many comebacks). I use this point to construct that it is almost impossible for any DEF to meet fans expectations. The NFL has changed the way Defense's should be percevied however we as fans have not changed how we in fact perceive them. We (mostly the media) are still thinking it is realistic to hold teams to 10 points and under consistently.


      1. Based on yesterdays performance vs Dallas, should we say that since NYG gave up 30+ points but we only gave up 13 to Dallas, that our DEF is better? Hell no! Gone are the days where teams stay between 10-20 points. 30-40 is the new 10-20. New rules have allowed penalties (bogus PI and personal fouls on QB's for breathing on them) to extend drives when previously the teams would be off the field (see London Fletcher or the Vince Wilfork call).

        My point is that even having a DEF with talent and names does not guarantee low offensive outputs for your opponent. Can we just watch the game and be disappointed or surprised without the "I told you so" arrogance the media in NE is currently spewing?


    2. How do you explain the playoff losses to the Jets and Ravens? 14-2 means nothing in the playoffs. Each team starts off 0-0.


      1. "How do you explain the playoff losses to the Jets and Ravens?" You say that like only malfeasance can ever cost the home team a playoff game. I'm not sure what malfeasance existed in either case. And 14-2 means a hell of a lot in the playoffs – it means you're probably the number one seed. You do that sort of thing enough, and you'll win your share of championships. Get over it – they lost two playoff games. The Steelers have, the Colts have, even the Niners did. It happens.


        1. Oh so does going 14-2 give you an automatic 7-0 lead when the game starts? Nope. 14-2 can't catch a pass, get a sack or down a punt inside the 5.


          1. In every case but the rarest one, 14-2 gives you home field advantage all the way through the playoffs. This guarantees nothing, but as stated above, if you do that often enough, you're probably going to get the desired result. I see from your non-response above that you don't care to argue that.

            Does anything give you an automatic 7-0 lead when the game starts? Being obtuse is no way to go through life son.


      2. Football has an unpredictable element to it. The oblong ball, player match ups, coaching, pressure, the elements…and a host of other things make for non predetermined outcomes. My simple answer to you tl is for every game lost like the game to the Jets in last years playoffs where the Pats should have won there is a game like Pittsburgh in 03 or indy in 04 or the Rams in 01 where the Pats had "no chance" on paper and they won the game. I can give you a litany of reasons why a 14-2 season is successful even with a drubbing to the jets in the Playoffs…I doubt you will except any because your expectations now are that the Pats win big in the playoffs and that they do it with style points…you are SPOILED. Whereas I recognize that everyone starts the post season 0-0 I also am a realist and realize that getting there is not so easy. This team has 9 straight years of double digit regular season victories. A streak only matched by two other teams. You can say regular season wins don't matter, my counter is they play the games for a reason..you might as well win them.

        Again…is this team flawed…sure…what team isn't. They may lose in the post season and then you can hand wring all you want. The thing is…they will have played well enough to get there and that should count for something.


  9. George, when was the last Superbowl that Ozzie won with one of his defenses? Better yet, when was the last Superbowl that the Ravens have played in? You're obviously pining for a job in the Boston media with your over the top "Its always raining" nonsense. They have one of the best teams year in and year out going back over 10 years and yet you complain all the damn time. You also have no clue when it comes to facts which means you'd be perfect for a job in the media.

    Its been FOUR WHOLE YEARS SINCE THE SUPER BOWL!!! BOO frigging HOO. Try being a fan of any other team and get back to me as to how many would love having the success that the Pats have enjoyed. You're just a spoiled, whining ninny. You'd make the perfect Jets fans.


    1. Okay, I'll be a fan of the Steelers. They seem to be having a good run of success. They even went to the SB last year.


    2. I'd rather have a shot 9 out of 10 years than.. turn into the Colts this year. Look at the Dolphins lately? How about the Chiefs? Raiders?

      Call it spoiled but I can tell you that non-Pats fans who aren't still using the spygate stuff are very jealous. They know Belichick + Brady = gold and would have donated a kidney to have this.

      DId you see the survey today on Yahoo Sports that 20% of college football fans would give up sex for a year if their team could win the BCS? I'm not joking.


    1. Agreed, and thanks to all of the commenters. I am usually in strong disagreement with the majority of the site's regulars, but all I ask for is honest analysis. Great read today.


  10. Chris is spot on with his evisceration of George's "Ozzie Newsome is crushing it" comments. The only trophy the Ravens have won since the '00-01 season is for pre-game hype speeches by Ray Lewis. Before the Ravens the local media fawned over Bill Polian and his Colts. Unfortunately, this season has shown them to be a house of cards. The Steelers get their share of love from the Boston press, but at least they've won some Super Bowls recently. Yet, they still have draft busts at wide receiver. The local media has jumped onto the regular season is meaningless because they can't bitch and moan about anything else.


    1. ANY TEAM with better drafting = Super Bowls. That's the epitome of Monday morning quarterbacking right there. If the Arizona Cardinals had drafted all those players, guess what? They'd be good too.

      Also, per your own chart:

      2009: Brady was beat up
      2010: Brady was off

      So maybe… just maybe you don't win when your Hall of Fame player stinks, regardless of how your defense is performing!!!


    2. I love shaping stats to fit an arguement ie. I want to complain about drafting so I will only use 2 years of poor results that fit my arguement.


  11. Point differential for 2001 Patriots (SB Champs): +101 (6.3 PPG)
    Point differential for 2003 Patriots (SB Champs): +110 (6.9 PPG)
    Point differential for 2011 Patriots (TBD): +118 (9.1 PPG)

    The reason for comparing this year’s team with the 2001/2003 squads is that the latter two managed to win the Superbowl in spite of glaring weaknesses: we all know the statistical anomaly that was the 2001 Pats (19th ranked offense, 24th ranked defense), and if Kevin Faulk were to channel Rodney Harrison, he'd admit the 2003 squad featured the most pathetic rushing offense of the BB-Brady era. Likewise, the 2011 Patriots – whose average margin of victory exceeds either of those teams – are headed for the playoffs and quite possibly a 1st round bye in spite of their historically anemic passing defense.


    1. I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you're talking about. The 2001 Rams drafted incredibly well, had a young, fast defense, and developed a number of skill receivers to go with their A+-caliber quarterback.

      Therefore, there is no way that they did not win the 2001 Super Bowl. Sorry.


  12. George,

    I'm sorry but I can't let you slide on the Ozzie Newsome thing. That's the same GM who, while putting together great defenses seemingly every year (not really true because the two key players on that defense–Lewis and Reed–have been there since 1996 and 2002, respectively….has been completely unable to replace what Trent Dilfer gave the Ravens at QB in 2000. It's been 11 years and that team still has QB issues. Flacco is overrated and is having a terrible year. They've used two #1 picks and a ton of FA money to try to replace what Dilfer game them, and still really haven't been able to do it. They've also missed the playoffs three times since 2004 and have appeared in exactly 1 AFC title game since winning the SB in 2000. Newsome is very good…..but BB, even with his flaws and "arrogance", is better. (And why is he arrogant? Can you explain or are you just taking your cue on that from those media members who don't like him?).


  13. I'm tired of hearing that "This team has 9 straight years of double digit regular season victories." So what… the Steelers, Ravens, Packers, Indianapolis, New Orleans all can say the same thing.

    As long as you have a franchise quarterback like Brady, Brees, Mannings, Roethlisberger, and Rodgers you're going to contend year in year out. With Brady they SHOULD be winning at least 10 games a year. Pitt and GB do.

    To have a crap defense like this, and have it regress, year after year during the prime of Brady's career is disappointing. Who cares if they went 14-2 last year?? It matters how you stack up against the other playoffs teams come Jan.

    How can people not see that this team is trending dangerously close to last years team.


    1. " the Steelers, Ravens, Packers, Indianapolis, New Orleans all can say the same thing"

      Actually, they can't. Only the Colts of this decade and the 1980s-1990s 49ers can say it.


    2. Wow, where to start. First of all, none of the teams you mentioned can say that they have nine straight winning seasons. Second, you blame the loses in the playoffs on the defense only. It seemed to me that last year New England lost to the Jets because they were outplayed on offense, defense, special teams and they were out-coached. In another words, it was a total team effort. The same can be said for 2009. Tom Brady had three turnovers before the first quarter was over. The defense started the game by giving up an 83 yard run to Ray Rice. It was 24-0 after one quarter. A team starting that sloppy can be blamed on coaching. Again, it was a total team effort.

      Going back to last year, how do you think the Patriots stacked up against the other teams? I think they stacked up pretty well against all of them. Let's see they beat the Jets 45-3, the Steelers 39-26, Chicago, in a blizzard, 36-7 and Green Bay 31-27. The fact is the Patriots picked the worst time to play their worst game of the year. In the NFL anything can happen, even a sixth seed can win the Super Bowl, like last year.


    3. Apps…why play the regular season games if all that matters is the playoffs? your sense of entitlement is amazing to me. You lack of perspective is equally mind boggling.


  14. "They can't develop a wide out on offense either."

    I call Deion Branch and Julian Edelman to the stand as rebuttal witnesses. The latter would be serviceable if he weren't buried behind Welker, and even still he offers versatility not seen since Troy Brown. I'll stop short of calling Slater a safety (he's been listed as a safety on the depth chart every year until this year).


  15. There is no question I would love to see a Patriot defense that is similar to the ones of 2003 and 2004 but this is not the case. What is the case is this team is 10-3 with a great chance to have home field advantage for the playoffs. That's not so bad. When looking at the team's loses, the only game you can really say the Patriots were outplayed was against Pittsburgh. The first reason for the loss was that Pittsburgh stayed in a zone most of the game with minimal blitzing. This probably fooled the Patriot offense. The other issue, that was pointed out by many analyst, was Patriot linebackers and safeties inexplicably abandoning the middle of the field on coverage. This allowed for too many 15 to 20 yard pass plays. Despite that, the Patriots still had a chance to win the game.

    The reason for the other two loses against Buffalo and the New York Giants is pretty simple, turnovers. The Patriots committed four in each game. Your chances of winning plummets with each turnover. The sports radio yakkers will never mention this though because it hurts their tiresome talking point of giving up yards which has little to do with winning or losing.


  16. I have to again state what a total abyss the the 2-6 slot is in Boston sports radio. Today on Felger and Maz they spent the entire show telling us what jerk Tom Brady was for yelling at Bill O'Brien and getting on Tiquan Underwood. Felger stated that he does not like to criticize the Patriots when they win, then spent 90% of the show criticizing them. Maz on the other hand must have got the memo on saying "sucks" with every sentence. His go to word today was "bullcrap" like in, "Dan Dierdorf's analysis was bullcrap.", "Tom Brady screaming at his coach is bullcrap", "Everything is bullcrap." Maz has the vocabulary of a twelve year-old.

    I switched to The Big Show for a couple of minutes. These are minutes that I will never get back. The show spent a segment on Tiquan Underwood's hair. Glenn Ordway probably will be able to keep his job because the new FM signal has brought his ratings up. I think he has no chance of passing F&M because as bad as F&M is Ordway is still completely unlistenable. Thank heavens for Scott Van Pelt.

    P.S. "The last time I listened to Ordway, he, Holley and Jack Edwards were arguing about the 2001 tuck rule game. Way to stay relevant.


    1. I don't know, I think they're already at that point. The odd thing is that you would expect 98.5 to be the most "Patriots friendly" given they're the flagship station, but instead the most vocal critics of the team are their main afternoon drive program! I couldn't imagine Felger Mazz Bertrand etc. if the Patriots radio package ended up at WEEI. If they're insufferable now….


  17. I spent Monday doing some Christmas shopping with my wife on her day off. Decided to read this column when we got home, and completely avoid (and not subject her to) Felger, Mazz, Mutt, Lou, Big Show and everything else…seems like I missed absolutely nothing!

    This market deserves better. Only so many times you can say it, but the radio clowns in this town are running rampant and especially during afternoon drive when it matters most.


    1. Do yourself a favor and check out “The Nick and Artie Show.” It’s Nick DiPaolo (Boston comedian) and Artie Lang (NY comedian) doing a 3 hour sports talk show every night. They have their own web site where you can stream the show live at night. They are also simulcast on Direct TV and XM Satellite Radio. Or you can do what I do and download their podcast every night and listen to it the next day when you’re in the car. They talk a lot of national sports while also talking Boston and NY given that those are the two cities that they root for. Really funny stuff. Better than ANYTHING currently on the radio in Boston.


    2. Only thing I can suggest: I keep a small list of SportsTalk streaming URLs (you can find them via a very simple google search), depending on what market I want to pickup. Usually, it has to do with a loss or a place like Dallas this week where the situation is imploding with Jason Garrett. We're not alone here but it is hard to find something I would deem "a good spirited debate" like I put the SVP show in.


  18. OK this is for all people who feel like George Cain and tl;dr. The Patriots Defense is lousy. They have no shot to win the Superbowl.

    Since it appears that what you truly want is for everyone to harp on this point and beat it to death, there you go. We shouldn't watch any games because it is not possible for the Pats to get lucky or eek out a win against a much superior team. The Pats have lost their last two appearances so that clearly translates to this year. I forgot it is impossible for an underdog to ever win, 2001 must've been mythology. I guess I'll move on to BBall where regular season wins matter, oh wait they don't. How bout hockey, oh damn they don't matter either. Redsox? Think not!

    I think it's clear, we simply cannot enjoy any regular season game because its meaningless. I will not watch sports anymore!



Comments are closed.