As was to be expected sports radio was all about the Patriots and their second straight loss Sunday night. There were a bunch of different story lines that dominated the airwaves. Obviously the referees and how poorly the game was called was the lead story, but then there was also the Bill Belichick pushing an official following the game side of things, which got a lot more attention than I personally thought it would. Tony Massarotti was very adamant in saying Belichick should be suspended and brought it up any chance he could. Most everyone else said to expect a heavy fine. Other topics on the airwaves and online included the defense taking a few steps back, and even whether or not the game-winning field goal was good or not.
Taking a step back and looking at the big picture the Patriots went toe-to-toe with one of the top 5 teams in the AFC on the road, without one of their most productive and important offense players in Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots proved they are still one of the elite teams in the league and will be there in the end. Some are saying the Patriots schedule is now tougher than first thought, but until the Texans game Dec. 10 the only “tough” games I see are vs. Denver Oct. 7 and @ Seattle Oct. 14. The Patriots could still hypothetically go 12-4.
One trend that is becoming an issue is the Patriots failure to closeout and win close games. Since 2009 (including postseason) the Patriots are 8-9 in games decided by five points or less. Tom Brady spoke indirectly about it following the game saying the team needs to play better when it counts. This is something to monitor as the season goes on.
The ending of the Monday Night Football game will surely be the topic of discussion all day and for the coming days as well. If this doesn’t end the officials lockout, I honestly don’t know what will. The NFL needs to get this settled and it needs to happen before the Browns and Ravens kickoff Thursday night.
Here are a few of the notable links, but you can get all the coverage over at Patriotslinks.com.
Patriots issues go beyond officials– Tony Massarotti says the Patriots have problems on both offense and defense.
Patriots report card– Ron Borges gives his grades for Week 3. There aren’t that bad, but definitely room for improvement.
Patriots lost in the chaos– Gerry Callahan says the Patriots cannot blame the refs, they need to just play.
Patriots’ offense caught in between– Mike Reiss looks at how Josh McDaniels has handled the offense and how he is trying to find out what works best to start making things click.
Against Ravens, Patriots were lacking finishing move– Christopher Price says the Patriots could not close out the Ravens, which was the main reason why they lost.
Wedge issue: Replacement refs could leave scars– Tom E. Curran notes coaches, execs and players have the right to be upset with their owners for not reaching a deal with the refs.