I was of the mindset that the Patriots season was over after the Dallas Cowboys dismantled them in the 4:00 PM window back in Week 4. Losing Matt Judon and Christian Gonzalez was brutal enough, but you saw no progression out of the offense to that point, and Mac Jones was effectively winging it at times (insert the two cross-field throws here). If you didn't think that was the case then, there's a likely chance you do now.
Despite a good day on the ground from Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott, the Patriots put up their worst offensive outing of the season with just six points against a hurt Colts defense, which managed to sack Mac Jones five times in the first half. Even then, Jones was brutal in Frankfurt, Germany. And after a league-leading 10th interception on a horrendous underthrow, Bill Belichick opted to bench him for the final drive in favor of Bailey Zappe. Of course, he was also picked off on a fake spike going into what was almost quadruple coverage, and that would officially send the Patriots into the bye with a 2-8 record, the worst in the AFC.
Not only is their season over (which, in fairness, it has been for weeks now), but I'm willing to say there is a zero percent chance Belichick is back in 2024 in any capacity. Much worse coaches would have already been let go after the last season and a half, but this isn't your typical situation for what are obvious reasons. Belichick won't be fired between now and January, but the writing is on the wall, and you can see it start making the media rounds. Dianna Russini, Mike Reiss, and Ian Rapport, among others, have begun to get the ball rolling on the idea that these are Belichick's final seven games as Patriots head coach.
At the end of the day, Belichick has 100 percent control and final say over every square inch of this team, and things have been nowhere near good enough ever since they beat the Bills on that one faithful windy night at Orchard Park in 2021. He stunted Mac Jones' growth in 2022 by sticking him with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge after a strong rookie year, then officially succeeded in breaking him less than a full season later after mismanaging the roster offensively. The greatest mind that this game has ever seen is not going to be in Foxborough in 2024, with these last few years having the potential to tarnish his legacy in and outside New England for years to come, and there's no one to blame other than himself.
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