September 21, 2017

Gut Check – Game 12 at Dolphins

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Let’s make this short. We can summarize Sunday’s 22-21 loss at Miami by calling it the low point of the season (one week after thinking we’d already gotten there). A year that began with such promise can now end no better than 2008’s 11-5 record.

We hate writing these things. You don’t like reading them all that much. Let’s rip the bandage off this scrape and get it over with…

They’re Patriots, Not (Two) Minutemen: I don’t know if it would be possible for any team to give up more late scores than New England does. Miami got field goals in the waning minutes of each half, cutting a 14-7 lead to 14-10, then erasing the Pats’ 21-19 lead with 1:07 to play.

Speaking of the former…

I Get No Kick From Belichick: You’d think Coach Belichick would reconsider some of those fourth-and-short calls by now. Yeah, yeah, I know. It was fourth and one on Miami’s six at the end of the first half. He wanted the touchdown. But, even if I’m not the sharpest tack on the board, I figure three points would have helped. You know, given the final score and everything.

Sigh. Let’s try some good news…

Better Reception: Receiver Sam Aiken had the longest touchdown catch of his career, an 81-yarder in the third quarter that made it 21-10, Pats. Meanwhile, Wes Welker had 10 grabs for 167 yards.

Okay. That ends the good news segment of the column.

Not Their Bess Effort: The New England secondary got their butts handed to them by two guys named Chad and Bess. Chad Henne (He of the 73.2 rating going into Sunday) hit on 29 of 52 passes for 335 yards and two TDs. Davone Bess had a positively Welker-like 10 catches for 117 yards. I mean, that’s just sad, right?

Fade He, Brady: Mike Reiss spelled this out in his blog, but it’s worth pointing out that Tom Brady has been fading in the second half like a cheap t-shirt left in the hot water cycle. After going 13 of 14 for 196 yards in the opening two quarters, Brady went six of 15 the rest of the way, with 81 of his 156 second-half yards coming on Aiken’s TD.

Yoiks And Away: This allusion to a funny Looney Tunes scene comes as a painful reminder that, beyond the London game vs. Tampa, the Patriots have yet to win an away contest in 2009.

Hilarious when Daffy Duck gets slammed around. The Patriots? Not so much.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]


  1. Frustrating. Miami’s a decent team, but scoring only seven points in the second half is inexcusable. Moss had a great deep ball catch early but seems to have checked out otherwise. The offense tries to get cute near the goal line — maybe Brady’s audibling out of a run(?) — yet again.

    Keeping the opposing team off-balance — what used to be a trademark of previous seasons — is missing. Again. Outside of the a quick snap to catch 12-defenders-on-the-field, offensive rhythm and adjustments in the second half are glaringly lacking. Again. In the second half, the Fins were sure to adjust to shut down Welker, and yet the Pats don’t be able to change it up. Credit Aiken for a great play on what was a 50-50 pass, but otherwise the offense seems to curl up into the fetal position in the red zone.

    Don’t get me started on the pass defense. (I’m being generous by calling it a “defense”). No pass rush, poor corner play and poor tackling don’t make for much success. Pees seems content to play a soft zone while four rushers futilely try to rush the passer, maybe trying to protect a feeble secondary. I’ll acknowledge shutting down Ricky Williams and the Pat White experiment, but without Ronnie, the Fins are hardly an offensive juggernaut. This is Chad Henne, Gregg Camarillo and Davone Bess we’re talking about, let alone Manning/Wayne/Clark or Brees & Co. And I’m tired of the double-middle-of-the-line blitz that just results in an easy completion.

    Henne — who I’m guessing had a pretty clean jersey by the end — missed some easy throws or it might have been a 33-21 Miami margin. Bodden absolutely cannot let a receiver get behind him in the end zone like that.

    The more I watch this team this season, the more it seems like Belichick is unconsciously (or, for all we know, part of his master plan) playing for next year. The personnel is simply lacking, especially on the defensive side of the ball. In previous seasons, perhaps the offense would only put up 21, but the “D” would make “the big play” and hold the opposing team down. If I’m an opponent, is there one front-seven defensive player other than Wilfork who strikes any fear in me?

    • i agree about BB. This is not a good year for him. And what is with Bill’s love of Matt Slater? MS is absolutely the worst, most predictable kickoff returner we’ve ever experienced. Edelman can’t get back fast enough for that. Welker did it at the end of the game and was strong but we can’t stretch him anymore. This team is thin on offense and thinner on defense. Burgess and Thomas were a joke the whole game. Seau’s brief first half work didn’t shine either. They are who we didn’t think they were.

  2. When its 1st and goal from the 4 the call should be run. Something is lacking from this team penalties negating big plays or first downs, kickoff team that lets the ball get run to the 25 before they miss the first tackle. Receiviing team that rarely gets by the twenty, defense that lets the receivers catch third down balls just past the fist down marker, Offense who`s receivers catch the ball two yards shy of the first down marker and have to scamper past it. The Saints rushed three guys and Brady had no time. ( why?) Whatever happened to know your job and do it? Is BB getting soft? The defense is young but the offense has talent something is missing, when its 1st and goal from the 4 the call should be run.

  3. Well, I’m frustrated as hell, and the reason is because we DO have the talent. The problem from where I sit is the lousy coaching and game managing decisions. It seems like Bill is really feeling the pressure and 2nd guessing himself before he even makes a decision.

    My solution: and I think it will really work–Hire Charly Weis right now, today, and make him the OC and leave him alone. Then Bill you concentrate on defense and come up with defensive game plans only. That, to me, is the only way out of this nightmare.

  4. I agree, it’s not only the players who are letting the team down it’s the coaching staff and front office. Bill can’t do *everything* himself, there are just not enough hours in the day. It’s as if we have promoted the water boy and towel washer to be assistant coaches. No one will be raiding our OC and DC postiions this year. Has any team lost more coordinators to HC positions in this decade?

    I was feeling pretty ill all night, right up until I caught the raider-steeler highlights. Then I felt quite a bit better.

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