Ben Lepper ’25
I am a New England Patriots superfan. I live and die by this team. My mood almost directly correlates to their success and failure. I clear my schedule any time they play. I have dedicated so much of my life to this team, and I truly love them. But, I’m not delusional. I know they’re currently just a shell of those Patriots teams that won three Super Bowls in a five year span. I’m okay with that – teams change over time. What I’m not okay with is how this team has gone from a well-coached brigade to the team that is being put out on the field this season.
The first three games of this season were utterly painful to watch. In Week 1 versus the Dolphins, I watched a completely unprepared team walk into Hard Rock stadium and put up one of the most pathetic offensive showings I’ve ever seen. I wrote it off pretty quickly – the Patriots are historically bad in Miami. Then, in Week 2, I watched a so-called “Defensive Showdown” between two terrible offenses when they took on the Steelers. While I should have been concerned that the Patriots offense did very little against a Steelers defense missing T.J. Watt, I quickly wrote that game off as well. A win is a win, after all. But, after Week 3 against the Ravens, I am out of excuses.
I will give credit to the Patriots for playing 45 minutes of good football. For the first time this season, they looked good. DeVante Parker shined as a deep threat, Rhamondre Stevenson averaged 6 yards per carry, and Jonathan Jones had a ridiculous game on the defensive side of the ball. Sure, they had a few mistakes, but they looked like they were improving. Lamar Jackson was having another ridiculous game, and yet, the Patriots were in striking distance.
That’s when it all fell apart. The defense turned to swiss cheese and let Lamar run all over them, while the offensive turned the ball over time and time again. They looked like they gave up. And then, on the last offensive play of the game for the Patriots, the worst-case scenario became reality: Mac Jones went down with what appeared to be a serious leg injury. He was screaming in pain as he left the field, and the fanbase was screaming with him. Even though Mac’s development has seemingly been reversed by Matt Patricia’s offensive scheme, he’s also the brightest beam of light for this team’s future. Luckily, he will be back in 4-8 weeks, so it could have been much worse.
There’s simply not much else I can say about this team right now other than I’m worried. Changing the offense on a young quarterback almost never ends well – look at Daniel Jones, for example. The play calling has been atrocious. The team has been turning the ball over too much as a whole. The defense has been rock solid at points and completely invisible at others. They’ve had chances to win games and they never capitalize on them.
Usually I’m able to pinpoint what’s wrong with a team. But, in this case, I can’t, simply because there are too many things going wrong to count. I wish I could say that changing the offensive play caller would fix everything, but at this point, I don’t know if it will. I don’t know how they’re going to fix this team, especially with Mac Jones potentially out long term. One moment they look like the 2007 Patriots, the next they look like the 1990 Patriots. There is simply no way to tell what needs fixing because it seems like new problems arise every time they take the field. `
I love this team. They’ve done so much for me and my family. They are my safe space and my raison d’etre. But something is seriously wrong with them, and they need to find out how to fix themselves. Who knows, maybe they’ll get it together next week. I’m not holding my breath, though. For now, I’ll keep wearing my jersey every Sunday and prepare to be disappointed. Even if they’re a shell of their former selves, I’ll support them until the end.