We are so close to the end of the NFL season. Now is the time that families get to see their loved ones return from bitter fantasy football playoff defeat, emerging from basements, rec rooms, and mancaves covered in chip dust, with the smell of cheap beer barely masking the stink of regret. In the real football league, we were treated with the confirmation that many were afraid to type. The New England Patriots are far removed from being handed a first-class ticket to the AFC Championship. Right now, they can’t get past the new postseason darling of the conference, the Bengals.
I am sorry for your loss New England Patriots, but your season is over!
As long as I can remember, I was encouraged to call Cincinnati the Bungles. Well, that era seems to be over and now we can go back to watching New England be… well, an AFC afterthought. Now, last year, Mac Jones was the “best QB taken in the draft!” according to so many talking heads. Well, sadly, he has to continue to play this year and no longer gets graded on the “Trevor Lawrence is being coached by a guy who literally kicks his players” curve. It has been an unfortunate season for Mac.
Let the record show, Mac Jones is a good quarterback for the Patriots and very well can lead them to postseason greatness. For now, sadly, the Patriots hitched his wagon to the offensive genius that is Matt Patricia while being all but one game outside the final wild card spot. For those who may not be familiar, the playoff bracket has been expanded because watering down a product is the new American pastime.
Joe Burrow for 375 yards in this game thanks to chucking it 52 times. It is clear that the “cold weather” team in Cincinnati is far better at the air attack than most of the league. Joe was able to spread the wealth in front of the New England defense hitting eight different Bengals on multiple receptions. This game was an embarrassment of efficiency with Burrow handling the late-season match-up.
The score indicates this game was close, but really it was a game of two lopsided halves. As they closed the first half it was not at all. The Bengals were up 22-0 at the half. No word if there was another sideline Mac Jones tantrum, maybe he saved it for the locker room. The Patriots flipped the script and then shut out the Bengals in the second half.
Turnovers never come at a good time, do they? New England was on the march in the red zone when Rhamondre Stevenson was popped by Vonn Bell and coughed up the football with under one minute to play. There was some disagreement on the ruling of the play but the refs, as they do, believe they made the right call. Phew, I almost thought the players needed to get back on the field and replay the final minute.
Turnovers kept this game interesting but overall, the Patriots can’t get over the critical moments in the game. The aforementioned fumble was the cherry on the sundae of ineptitude for New England. If your kicker missed extra points then you probably will be served up a nice stinger of a loss. New England fans booed the team on the regular in this game because well, they’re New England fans. If you’re looking for tens of thousands of fans to be sitting in the freezing weather and be patient, good luck.
The Patriots finish the season with Miami and the Bills so there’s a good shot they end with a losing record. However, the real kick in the pants will be handing the play calling from Patricia to Bill O’Brien. As they say, when do pitchers and catchers report?
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