COMMENTARY

It was the perfect, worst loss that the Patriots might have hoped for.

Oh, within the grand scheme of issues, there’s nothing else that New England head coach Invoice Belichick would have preferred to go away Baltimore with Sunday night time aside from a win over the Ravens.

However he in all probability bought extra.

The 2019 New England Patriots, lastly, discovered just a little bit about themselves throughout their 37-20 loss to the flashy Ravens, a recreation stuffed with sufficient blunders to offer Belichick with teaching materials to final him till February.

Towards actual competitors, they blew it.

There’s worth in that for Belichick and his teaching employees within the midst of a season that, till this level, had been outlined by the historic work of a defensive unit in opposition to pee-wee competitors. The identical protection that made Jets quarterback Sam Darnold see ghosts only some weeks again bought slimed by Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and a Baltimore operating assault that accounted for 210 yards on the bottom. There have been errors on the road of scrimmage and Julian Edelman’s rebound-halting fumble, moments that Belichick can grasp onto in preaching to his troops the place work is required in the course of the second half of the season.

One of the best factor to occur Sunday night time although was placing an finish to any extra notions of the Patriots going 19-0.

This isn’t a idea based mostly on the foolish notion {that a} workforce ought to lose a recreation sooner or later to get the monkey off its again, however a more-reasoned strategy that means correct starvation. Going 19-Zero can be neat. The Krafts would possibly even grasp a banner. Promote some t-shirts. Cool.

However what we discovered on the final journey to the almost-perfect season in 2007 was that the purpose of perfection can develop into a headache that cloaks internal flaws. The Patriots we noticed the second half of that season weren’t the identical Patriots blowing the doorways off competitors in the course of the first half of the season. There was a sure identification shift that urged that New England was a workforce operating on intimidation. And with which may have come an absence of respect for who was subsequent in line, a harmful practice of thought when the appropriate opponent is available in with a swagger and an concept of your foibles.

Bear in mind quarterback Tom Brady’s response to Giants large receiver Plaxico Burress predicting New York would derail the right season with a 23-17 rating within the Tremendous Bowl?

“We’re solely going to attain 17 factors?”

Nope. Fourteen.

When perfection turns into the purpose, not solely the chance, there’s purpose to be afraid of the end result. Would Belichick prefer to develop into the one coach to steer his workforce to a 19-Zero file? In fact he would. Is it one thing he aspires to occur considered one of these years? Please.

The 19-Zero season is little greater than a bragging proper, added to a resume that already consists of sufficient Tremendous Bowl titles to cement a soccer legacy. Secretly, it’s in all probability a purpose that irks Belichick to his teaching core although, a senseless pursuit that proves utter dominance over all people else on the schedule. This can be a man, bear in mind, who gathered his defensive gamers with an impassioned speech on the sideline, all whereas his workforce was manhandling the Jets just a few weeks again. Belichick took the chance to relay a training second in a recreation that was in any other case equal to the mosquito and the windshield.

What sort of teaching moments are there to seek out when a workforce is 12-0? 14-0? 18-0?

At that time, you’re a workforce using on the air of superiority, a perch from which your tentative foothold turns into a shakier proposition with every passing week.

With this loss, there’s one thing that Belichick can maintain over his gamers’ heads. That’s a tricky job when a workforce has confirmed itself higher than all people else.

Actually, a number of the changes the Patriots made after getting walloped within the first quarter in opposition to the runnin’ Ravens are indicative of that to some extent. The Patriots’ protection had no reply for the velocity of Jackson within the first quarter, serving to Baltimore romp out to a 17-Zero lead. However the Patriots recovered, and outdoors of Edelman’s premature fumble, may need produced a worthy comeback.

Now they get to make these fixes over the bye week as a substitute of on the fly. Kyle Van Noy and the remainder of the self-proclaimed “boogeymen” have an additional week of crow-y vitamin to feed themselves, smacked with the realism that the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, and Texans aren’t the identical groups because the Browns and Dolphins, pathetic entities in opposition to whom nicknames shouldn’t be borne.

Halloween is over, and the common concern of the New England Patriots has been tempered.

If the Patriots meet the Ravens within the postseason, now they know what to anticipate from the get-go. There’s great worth in Belichick having the ability to recommend to his gamers how their shortcomings led to a loss the primary time round.

On that finish, this was an excellent defeat.

Belichick is aware of extra about his workforce in the present day, and whereas the Ravens are celebrating their November Tremendous Bowl, you simply know he’s utilizing it whereas projecting to every of the following few weeks.

You’ll be able to formally contemplate the Patriots extra harmful now than in the event that they had been nonetheless within the hunt of some foolish measure of perfection.

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