I always thought these would get easier to write. 15 years of dashed expectations and general chicanery from the Vikings should insulate a guy, don't you think?
All in all, I expected a loss today through a combination of things: Belicheck's superior chess skills, the NE 2-consecutive loss statistical reality, and the Peterson surprise this weekend.
On the first drive, we saw what a planned, practiced, and executed game plan can look like under Norv. There was some real creative play calling. This resulted in what looked like a team that could compete today. The playcalling became more generic, trying to simply establish some consistency and small successes, but the Patriots adjusted to the emerging Rudolph threat early in the game in addition to blanketing Patterson all game. In the end, it all came crashing down right through Kalil nearly unabated to the quarterback. 6 sacks and 4 interceptions is a tough day and those stats don't happen without Kalil and the O-line being off their game and Cassel unable to get into a rhythym.
Frankly, the defense did what it could. Smith was a beast, Robinson ok, Brinkley involved but the D line was rather quiet. They were put in difficult positions and managed to hold the Patriots to multiple field goals. I have no quarrel with the effort there given how often and hard they were called about to deal with tough situations.
What we really needed to do was have an Edelman adjustment. That guy ate our lunch all day.
This game was a categorical collapse from offense to special teams to coaching. Brady once again reminded me of what I hope to see Bridgewater become: intelligent field general able to smartly fake out the defense at the line of scrimmage through audibles and quick throws.
We leave Cassel in there for now: he's an up and downer and we know it. We also know Teddy is not ready and if you were chanting for him you are only asking to be punched in the balls when he doesn't make a magical rescue of the season. The tall order now is to deal with the Saints, on the road in the Superdome, after they have lost two straight. I expect to be 1-2 tracking my preseason predictions at that point, but I certainly expect an effort that resembles a football team that wants to win.