Miami 27, New England 20. The 11-point underdogs rising up to smash New England. The Patriots get smacked by a team they beat by 18 just two weeks earlier. Jay Cutler outplaying Tom Brady. Miami’s corners locking down New England’s wideouts. The Pats having a total of 2 yards of offense in the first quarter. Tom Brady’s first regular season game with two picks since 2015. Kenyan Drake going for nearly 200 yards from scrimmage.
And yet it was the most predictable thing ever. Because absolutely nothing in this league is guaranteed this year. It’s a year where the Chargers can start 0-4 and win the division. Where the Rams can go from laughingstock to the playoffs. Where Case Keenum and Super Bowl are being mentioned in the same sentence.
This year, the only thing you can predict is that it will be unpredictable. Well, that and Bill Belichick’s postgame reaction to being asked whether his team was caught looking past the Dolphins to the Steelers.
That noise, barely audible above the clicking of cameras was the sound of a guy shaking his head and muttering. There may have been a JC blast in there, I’m not even sure. But you knew that kind of reaction was coming.
That was about as predictable as any clown rolling out this morning with a take about how Brady is done. You know how that one goes. You point to the two picks, to the fact that he looked awkward in the pocket, then craft some zingers about avocado ice cream, avoiding tomatoes, and drinking gallons of water to prevent sunburn, and conclude by saying that Brady’s too old and the game has passed him by… Sure he’s not and sure it hasn’t.
I’m not going to sit here and say he looked great. He didn’t. In fact, he looked weirdly off. Something about his movement and the way the ball left his hand, but that doesn’t mean he’s done. Far from it. He was under pressure last night, that’ll happen. He never got comfortable. He threw a couple of picks, that will also happen. And it’s not exactly surprising that all of that will happen on a night where he didn’t have Rob Gronkowski due to suspension.
But if you’re going to ignore the three months that came before last night and somehow use last night as proof that Brady’s lost it, you’ve lost it.
He came into the game as one of the MVP favorites and he’s still one of the MVP favorites. Yeah, he had a terrible game, but so did every other MVP candidate not named Antonio Brown. Carson Wentz had his season end. And while Brady threw two interceptions, Russell Wilson tossed three.
Yes, there will come a time when he’s too old and too busted up to play like Tom Brady, but last night was that time or that game.
And as for Cutler, he was due. 25 of 38, 263 yards, 3 touchdowns, zero picks and one laser after another. And there would’ve been a fourth td if Grant had held onto a perfect bomb. It was a vintage Cutler night. That’s the kind of game Cutler turns in every now and then that keeps offensive coordinators drooling over him and ignoring all the other issues that come with him.
As for the Patriots, they’ve got Pittsburgh next. And if you’re going to try to convince me that losing last night means they’re going to lose to the Steelers, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Because if anything, seeing how badly they played last night makes me think they’re going to show up and ball up against the Steelers. Because that’s how the Patriots do it and that’s how this NFL season is going. There’s no such thing as a good loss. Especially one that could cost you the homefield throughout. But that’s exactly the type of wakeup call they needed: and no one will get more out of the Pats gets embarrassed by the Dolphins than the Hood itself. He’ll get a helluva lot more out of that loss than he would any win over Miami.