Unacceptable. Inexcuseable. Incomprehensible. I'm not even mad at the Keelan Cole touchdown that wasn't overturned. I'm not even mad that Mac Jones wasn't that great on Sunday. Nor am I upset about Jakobi Meyers lateraling it to Chandler Jones. I am absolutely furious about this loss because of the sheer incompetence displayed for 60 minutes that even got you to that final play. The Las Vegas Raiders are coached by Josh McDaniels, who is only in the spot he's in because he lucked into calling plays for Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, etc, and his staff collectively coach circles around you. The Raiders all but tried to hand the Patriots' a 20-point win and they ended up getting beat in totality. Offense, Defense, Special Teams, attention to detail, the whole nine yards.
The Patriots these next three weeks now play the Cincinnati Bengals, the Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills. I can confidently tell you in advance that they will not win a single one of those games. For my money their season ended with that Buffalo loss on Thursday Night Football anyway, but do you think an offense set up by Matt Patricia is going to hang with any of those teams? With the weapons that all three of those teams have, not a single chance. But this game, this loss, this is a pivotal point in the history of this franchise, and serious changes needed to be made.
The Draw from Hell
Typically with three seconds left on the clock in Hail Mary range, you have a few options. The first is to simply go for a Hail Mary, the Patriots did not opt for this. Option No. 2 is to throw a 10-15 yard pass then begin laterals. Once again the Patriots say no thank you. The third option would simply be to take a knee, especially if you think you're out of range. Instead of these, the Patriots go for the new innovative option of a draw.
I mean what are we doing here? I'm not even going to get into the fact that the ball was even lateraled to begin with, to me that is completely irrelevant. There are three seconds left and you are on your own 45, and you willingly call a HALFBACK DRAW with three seconds left. At no point was anyone on the sideline or booth suggesting to simply take a knee? You clearly had no intentions of chucking it deep, so why even risk anything? If you have a play caller that has a Football IQ on the level of some stray driftwood, these are the types of things that happen. At that point, you deserve to lose. And the worst part about this is Jakobi Meyers, who was in a horrible spot, to begin with, is going to take a ton of heat for this which isn't right. He's a good player who made a mistake in some bad circumstances, none of which were his fault.
Matt Patricia, who prior to being a failure of an NFL offensive coordinator, was a failure of an engineer, a failure of an NFL defensive coordinator, and a failure of an NFL Head Coach, should have been fired the microsecond this game ended. He was in no way shape or form qualified for the role, to begin with, and made the last three years of McDaniels look like Bill Walsh in the flesh. Patricia has no clue what he is doing on third down, no clue what he is doing in the red zone, and continues to have a fetish with horribly designed screen passes.
The best part of all of this as well is that he is not required to even be held accountable for his actions because he was purposely not given the official title of Offensive Coordinator. This is to ensure that he can effectively still be on the Lions' payroll after he was fired 2.5 seasons in. The irony in this is that the Lions are in a way better spot than the Patriots right now as well. I was willing to give Patricia a shot simply out of spite for McDaniels, but enough is enough.
In his own words, Bill Belichick, days before the regular season began, said the following concerning Patricia and Joe Judge being in the positions they are in now.
A wise man once said don't threaten me with a good time, so here we go. The fact that the man who is objectively the best coach in league history would make such a nonsensical, boneheaded decision, simply for the fact that two of 'his guys' failed as head coaches, is incomprehensible. Ultimately this is what Belichick gets for putting all of his eggs in the Bill O'Brien leaving Alabama basket though. He had no real Plan B and he panicked in the most un-Belichickian fashion possible.
I don't think what I'm about to say is controversial, but if Belichick is unwilling to make wholesale changes on the staff in general, but mainly on offense, he should be fired. His lack of a plan for life after McDaniels has categorically ruined this offense, and Mac Jones specifically. The worst part may be that he might be ok with this setup going into 2023 as well, which is a horrifying thought. What high-caliber free agents would even want to come here under these circumstances?
"Doing what's best for the team" has been a mainstay cliche since he came here in 2000, but Belichick doesn't practice what he preaches anymore. Is setting up your second-year, top-15 pick quarterback to fail with a pair of clown coaching buddies "Best for the team?" Is making bare minimum upgrades on offense while teams around the league have been making big moves to help young quarterbacks out for years now "Best for the team?" What about allowing an alarming amount of special teams miscues, is that "Best for the team?" If Belichick still believes in that phrase, he would look in the mirror and understand that he hasn't been good enough in 2022. Not as a head coach or a GM, outside of the draft at least. If he is unwilling to change and adapt, Belichick should be expendable. I'm sure DeMeco Ryans would do just fine here.
Up Next: Who Dey
The Patriots' eighth loss of the season will be at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals, who have been red hot for a while now. Their most recent comeback win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was their sixth win in a row, and eighth in their last nine games. Joe Burrow is very sneaky and could get himself into the MVP race with the way he's playing as well. If you ask me, he's the closest thing to Tom Brady since he was drafted. Leadership, clutch gene, and simply cold-blooded. The fact that the Bengals made the Super Bowl with a replacement offensive line last year is a testament to just how good he is. Having guys like Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Joe Mixon help, but Burrow is a good any as QB in the league. Have a hard time seeing them lose in Foxborough this upcoming Saturday.
Final Score: Las Vegas Raiders 30, New England Patriots 24
Gaffney's Three Stars:
1st Star – Rhamondre Stevenson (19 Carries for 172 Yards, TD)
2nd Star – Marcus Jones (Held Davante Adams to 1 Catch in Coverage for 9 yards and a PBU)
3rd Star – Kyle Dugger (Pick Six, 6 Tackles)