The Patriots have opened up their first two games by annihilating their opponents by a combined score of 76-3. The Steelers and Dolphins may not exactly be the class of the AFC this year, and the Dolphins look to be sprinting to the basement of the NFL after two embarrassing losses, giving up 59 to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens before succumbing 43-0 to the Pats.
But their schedule and star power can’t be ignored, especially after signing troubled receiver Antonio Brown, who surprisingly was very involved in the offense, catching four passes for 56 yards and a TD. Brown may not be a Patriot for long after more recent accusations, but that was never the expectation to begin with.
Brown’s signing highlights Belichick’s inclination towards getting talented receivers with troubled pasts (or present states) has become more common in recent years, as fellow receiver Josh Gordon can firmly be put in that class.
However you want to shake it, I think Brown’s signing shines a light on something lost on the average fan. Belichick and Brady have accomplished a hell of a lot in their near two-decade stint together. Six Super Bowl wins (9 appearances) a few MVP’s for Brady and many Patriots franchise and NFL records.
One has managed to evade them this entire time. After losing in the 2007 Super Bowl to the New York Giants (the first of two “Giant losses”) they were denied a 19-0 season, and had to settle for the gut-wrenching consolation prize of a 16-0 regular season. It is still the first of its kind in a 16-game season, as a wildly different bunch of Dolphins went undefeated in 13 games back in 1972.
Year after year, especially since winning three of the last five Super Bowls, people ask why Brady and Belichick keep coming back. I’m not sure it’s what keeps Brady coming back, but Belichick is obsessed with perfection and domination and would love nothing more than to prove that the impossible and mystical 19-0 mark is possible for him. The 19-0 season is a team record and one that would say more about a coach than a player, which is why it would make sense that Belichick is out for it.
Brady has his records and has secured his place in NFL history. So has Belichick, but this record would be his. Something his detractors could never say anything about. It would be the tip of the hat, the icing on the cake.
At first glance I thought signing the likes of Gordon and Brown were truly just the work of someone who at his heart is an anarchist and wants to watch the world burn, but now I believe there is deeper meaning to his madness. All in the name of 19-0.
And his defense looks ready to stand pat, after two dominating performances (three if you count the Super Bowl) in their last three games.
They picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen a total of four times, half of those resulting in pick sixes. The defensive line was absolutely suffocating and pushed the Dolphins front around all game, leaving the Fins with 38 total yards well into the second half..@j_collins91 takes the ball then takes it to the house! #GoPats | #NEvsMIA pic.twitter.com/qqhKoVUYiU
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 15, 2019
The Dolphins may be terrible, but after two dominating performances, the Pats can see the light. They essentially don’t have an opponent until the Bills (who knows if the Josh Allen-led Bills are for real) but in all likelihood could find themselves 7-0 heading into their showdown with the Browns. Those two weeks could be tough, as the following week may be an even bigger test against the revamped Ravens attack with Lamar Jackson (my fantasy QB) lighting up the scoreboard so far this year.
Still, there aren’t too many marquee matchups the rest of the way until the Chiefs make their way to Foxboro in Week 14. The Brady-Mahomes games thus far have been nothing short of amazing and I’m sure this one will live up to the hype as well.
The Pats look great this year but can they rise to never-before-seen heights? It is eerily reminiscent of that 2007 season, when Brady had endless weapons (although this defense is drastically better) and pounded opponents into the ground.
Their depth is another thing that is truly scary, as reliable targets like Phillip Dorsett may struggle to even see the field this year. Not to mention the return of “free-lancing” Jamie Collins on D and the ever-reliable safety duo of Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon. Couple that with consistently getting pressure up front and a couple ball-hawking corners (Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson) and prospects are bleak for the rest of the AFC and NFL at large.
Then, as the year went on the scores got…. closer…. and closer…. Until the Patriots were able to eke out that coveted 16-0 season en route to a Super Bowl appearance.
Belichick and company want to put that all in the past, but don’t put the possibility of him walking away from it all if they do indeed find themselves holding the Lombardi and sporting a 19-0 mark at year’s end.