The New England Patriots are 0-2 for the first time since 2001. Any talk of a "moral victory" in Week 1 was put to rest following their Week 2 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Bill Belichick's group again was forced to dig out of an early hole. They scored only three points in the first half and didn't find the end zone until the fourth quarter. Another week, another "too little, too late" effort from the Patriots offense.
As a result, our Tom E. Curran is changing his tune after initially praising the Patriots' resiliency against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I was very, very encouraged last week after the loss to the Eagles," Curran said on Tuesday's episode of Quick Slants. "So encouraged that I wrote this: 'I guess you can’t judge a moral victory in the immediate aftermath. You have to see what’s done with the momentum. But I think most of us know a bad team when we see it, even if the record says they are “good” (like last year’s Patriots when they were 5-4). And I know a good team when I see it, even if their record is 0-1.'
"My inference was the Patriots are a good team. All they had to do was clean some stuff up and of course, they would. They'd tighten the screws and get back to Patriots football and being a Bill Belichick-coached team. Last year was an aberration. They would be a team that didn't beat itself and everything that follows with it.
"After Sunday, I feel duped. Hoodwinked. A recipient of flimflammery. They've been outscored 33-3 to start the last two games and that's not good. And that's not how good teams operate. How many furious fruitless comebacks do I have to see before I realize that all these comebacks are just a mirage?"
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After the Week 2 defeat, linebacker Matthew Judon told reporters the Patriots are "not a bad team" despite their 0-2 start to the campaign. Curran believes at this point, they deserve the "bad team" label until the record says otherwise.
"I agree you're not a bad team, but the results are bad and the starts are bad," Curran said. "And hence, we get to a point where we say you are what your record says you are. And I don't always buy that. I didn't last year when the Patriots got above .500. I didn't think they were that great. I was right, and I think this team is better than a try-hard doormat that teams are gonna walk over on a weekly basis because they just don't have enough in the tank. But they weren't close to beating Miami or Philly. They were close to extending the game, and then they found a way to blow it. Like they did with Cincy. Like they did with Vegas or the Vikings.
"The Patriots can say they aren't a bad team, but they're going to need some tangible proof in the win-loss column that they're the opposite of bad. That they're good. And they need it immediately, like Sunday at Metlife Stadium, where Laveranues Coles has the Patriots circled and he's got a bib on, waiting for them to show up and chew."
That mention of ex-New York Jets wide receiver Laveraneus Coles is a reference to a clip from "The Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Laveranues Coles," in which the hosts have next Sunday's Pats-Jets matchup circled as a winnable game for New York.
Even with Aaron Rodgers out, the Patriots shouldn't take the Zach Wilson-led Jets lightly. New York still boasts an elite defense that could make it a long day for Pats quarterback Mac Jones and Co. New England can't afford to fall behind early for the third consecutive week.
You can watch the full episode of Curran's Quick Slants featuring Kay Adams and Colin Cowherd below: