The New England Patriots find themselves grappling with a sad beginning to their season, reminiscent of the trials they faced at the onset of the 21st century.
In the wake of their recent 24-17 defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins during Sunday Night Football, the team is staring down the barrel of their first 0-2 commencement since the transitional 2001 season, the era that witnessed Tom Brady stepping into the shoes of QB Drew Bledsoe.
On that occasion, their stumble into the third week without a victory was precipitated by a forceful tackle on Bledsoe by Jets defender Mo Lewis, a confrontation that Bledsoe later revealed had almost been life-threatening.
The 2023 Season
Since the early 2000s, the Patriots, under the adept leadership of icons such as Brady, Cam Newton, and even the fledgling Mac Jones, have managed to avoid entering the third week of the season without a victory, all guided by the unwavering hand of head coach Bill Belichick. Yet, 2023 paints a starkly different picture, marking the dawn of an unfamiliar and testing period.
Despite putting up a fierce fight in the initial two weeks against formidable adversaries – the Eagles and the Dolphins, the Patriots are now confronted with the grim prospects of a 0-2 start, a predicament that casts a significant shadow on their postseason aspirations.
Dolphins Triumph Over Patriots
In a Sunday Night Football clash fraught with tension, the Patriots couldn’t fully harness the robust performance displayed by their special teams and defence. This lapse was most noticeable in their inability to turn most offensive drives into scoring opportunities. Young QB Mac Jones found himself caught in the storm, unable to reciprocate the fervent efforts exhibited by the team’s defensive and special teams units.
The glimmers of hope were visible in sporadic bursts, with Hunter Henry securing a 6-yard passing touchdown and Rhamondre Stevenson executing a notable 2-yard touchdown run.
As the teams gear up for the next round of challenges, the undefeated Dolphins are set to welcome the Denver Broncos at their home turf. Meanwhile, the Patriots are preparing to face off against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, hoping to redeem their fledgling start.