Nov 24, 2009

Looking for the bounce back

[EDITORS NOTE - This was a post I did for WEEI, before the Patriots-Jets game. For whatever reason it didn't get posted, so I'll post it here]

Last week was a tough loss for the Patriots. But, it's Friday and fourth-and-2 was close to a week ago. As Ben Watson says, "you put in a good week of preparation and go out and play. But that rates the question, how well do the Patriots play after tough a loss? Or, more broadly, how well do they play amid controversy? Since 2001, when the team began their winning ways, there have been several situations that the Pats have faced where moving forward was the hardest part.

In 2003, just before opening day of regular season games, Lawyer Milloy was released from the Patriots and picked up by the Buffalo Bills. The news of the action came as a shock to fans and players alike. That weekend, Milloy and the Bills embarrassed the Patriots 31-0 in the Bills home opener. The obvious bounce back was beating the Eagles the following week, 31-10. But the real return on the loss to the Bills was beating them 31-0 at Gillette in the last game of the season.

Also in 2003,the Patriots lost to Washington on September 28. They didn't lose again until October 31, 2004 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 21 game winning streak, that included a Super Bowl was one of the longest in the league. So, they dropped one, pick yourself up, dust off, and go out and win next week, right? Exactly. They bounced back with a dominating win over the Saint Louis Rams the following week.

That bodes well for Sunday. In fact, since that loss in 2004, the Patriots have a record of 18-1 after a loss. As it pertains directly to the Colts, the Pats worst loss to them came in 2006 during the AFC Championship game. We could go into detail, but the video really covers it.

The music is, by far, the best part. The worst, Manning's smug smile and "thumb's up." So how do you reload after a tough loss like that? Easy, trade draft picks for Wes Welker and Randy Moss and go undefeated in the regular season. Though, even that can bring up issues.

In 2007, the Pats were good, real good. Like, potentially 19-0 good. We all know how that turned out so there is no need to relive it, but remember all the drama around "Spygate?" The allegations of cheating may have been the worst "distraction" the team faced during their undefeated run. However, their win over San Diego that year, right after the Spygate broke was especially poignant.

When the country was watching to see how the Patriots would react on the field, they executed well and beat the Chargers 38-14 on a Sunday night. Later that season, the Pats lost the one game they couldn't afford to lose.

Not sure if the team has really bounced back from that one yet... It didn't help that this happened in the next game:

Sure they won the game, but it's a Pyrrhic victory. As for Sunday? If history plays out the way it has, they'll win. But the Jets are a tough team and, like they say in the movies, "on any given Sunday you can win or lose." They probably don't need the pep talk, but it never hurts!

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