Some losses are worse than others. Some have silver linings and make you feel a little encouraged afterward. This loss was not that. That was as ugly as it gets. Pure domination by a 49ers team that was missing SEVEN starters from its defense including Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, Dee Ford, and both starting safeties. Simply put, any adequate offense puts up at least 25 points on this defense.
The problem? The Patriots don’t have an adequate offense. They don’t have a below-average offense. They have a putrid, dreadful, disgusting offense. And it starts with the quarterback.
Cam Newton’s performance on Sunday was the worst I’ve ever seen by a quarterback. I’m not kidding. He was missing wide-open receivers all over the field, hucking hospital balls two yards down the field on third and long, and frankly looking like a middle school quarterback that hasn’t learned to throw the ball. I don’t know if it’s a mental or physical issue with Newton, but his decision making in the past two weeks makes you wonder if he’s even seeing the same field as the rest of the team.
If Newton goes out next week and has a similar performance, I honestly wouldn’t let him back on the bus home. Just cut him then. He has absolutely zero value as a backup, and he is actively costing you on the field.
Remember all the hype videos Newton put out about how “motivated” he was and how we “hadn’t seen this Cam before”? Yeah, those didn’t age well. If I were him I’d be looking into a way to get out of his lease by the end of the month because I can’t imagine he’ll be employed here much longer.
Now the defense wasn’t as bad as Newton and the offense, however, it was pretty damn close. Kyle Shanahan exposed areas Belichick has simply ignored on defense in linebacker and edge play. It really isn’t that difficult to attack the Pats defense if you have a clue. Just attack the edges and make the Pats “linebackers” run in space, and you’re going to yield positive results.
Shanahan did just that, running stretches and tosses to the edge with a bunch of jet sweeps to get the linebackers moving, and the Patriots simply had no answer. This isn’t a scheme thing for Belichick and co., it’s a lack of talent. And who picks the talent? That would once again be Bill Belichick, who essentially ignored the interior linebacker this season. Instead of going out and drafting or signing a mike linebacker with speed, Belichick decided to hand the reins to a slow and out of shape 2017 5th round pick in Ja’Whaun Bentley. The results have been as any reasonable person would expect: disastrous.
The “Do Your Job” mantra the Patriots have preached over the past two decades fails miserably when your team simply lacks the talent to do said job.
Things aren’t looking good in Foxboro. And I don’t see them getting much better.