Undefeated no longer, the New England Patriots have lost a game.
In a game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, the Patriots’ defense was tested for the first time. The Patriots’ defense showed their first signs of humanity. Up until this point the defense had reached almost superhuman numbers, allowing only 61 points before this game.
While the team as a whole did surrender 37 points to the Ravens, an argument can be made that this was not all on the Patriots’ defense. Julian Edlemen was stripped which resulted in a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown by former Alabama standout cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
This defense has been incredible this season; they have scored against almost every team they have played. Devin McCourty is currently leading the NFL in interceptions with five. Bill Belichick is revered as a defensive mastermind by many, as he was the defensive coordinator for the Giants in the 80s when they were at their peak.
His performance against the Ravens will leave a stale taste in the mouth of Patriots fans with many believing this team could possibly remain undefeated for the rest of the season, something they have only accomplished in 2007. However, this loss does not discredit the defense nor the team. The Ravens came into the game hot. Lamar Jackson is having a season for the books. He is doing things that have not been seen since the days of Michael Vick.
This Patriots team is still in the driver’s seat for the first place finish in the AFC and are very much capable of gaining the all-important home field advantage and first round bye. The Patriots have proved again that they are a juggernaut in Foxborough and if they keep the first seed it is hard to not see them in the Super Bowl once again.
The team is far from finished. Overreactions to losses and victories are common for fans, but this team does have weaknesses. They have just been lucky enough to not have them show until this week. But with a bye week approaching then a tough span of games against the Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chiefs, all of which are playing good football right now, the Patriots have time to regroup and come back. These next five weeks will be a very important measuring stick for this team to see if they are as advertised.
This team is not the invincible one that fans had begun to get used to. They are humans on the field, humans that make mistakes. But this team has Tom Brady and Bill Belichick; the formula that has led to six Superbowl rings and more postseason success than ever seen before in this league. Look for this team to regroup after the upcoming bye week and come out strong against the Eagles next Sunday.
Austin Smith can be contacted