The Patriots fall back to earth with a loss to Cleveland, but it's not as bad as it seems
It's understandable for Patriots fans to start worrying after the team just got trounced by the Browns, 34-14. However, despite the final score, New England was still the better team. The loss doesn't change that.
Coming into the game they held the league's best record and had knocked off some of the toughest competition in the NFL - the Ravens, Vikings, Chargers, Dolphins. Getting upset by the Browns doesn't change their standing as one of the top teams in the NFL. If anything, it brings the team back down to earth and sharpens their focus. It's never good to lose a game, but a lot of good can come from this loss.
The Patriots aren't the only team that's been upset by the Browns. Something mentioned all week leading up to the game was how the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints were absolutely dominated by them two weeks ago, 30-17. Drew Brees threw 4 interceptions in that game as the Saints looked nothing like the squad that brought home the Lombardi trophy last year.
Similarly, the Patriots looked nothing like themselves in this game. The Pats have been getting their wins by being the more disciplined football team and eliminating mistakes. Yet with two fumbles in the game - including one that came about on a miscommunication on a kick return - New England looked sloppy.
A loss like this could serve to galvanize a team and wake them up a little bit. After the Saints' embarrassing loss to Cleveland - they bounced back strong. The next week, they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, probably the best team in the NFL, 20-10. This week they traveled to Carolina and delivered a trouncing, 34-3.
Bill Belichick's teams have always been one of the best in bounce back games - losing back to back games only twice since 2002. While this loss was ugly, it's sure to give the Patriots some extra motivation heading into a tough road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers next week.
The Patriots may have floundered in Week 9, but it's just another serving of humble pie. Expect Belichick to drive that point home to his players and look forward to them bouncing back against the Steelers in Week 10.
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