It was a Sunday, and the Patriots were losing late to the Washington Redskins. The Pats were threatening though, after battling back from a 20-3 deficit to trail by just a field goal. Following an inexplicable draw to Larry Centers (perhaps Charlie Weis‘ lowest moment as a coach at any level), though, hopes were dashed and the Patriots lost 20-17.
The Redskins improved to 3-1 but would finish the season 5-11. The Patriots wouldn’t lose for another 13 months.
Is there a chance that this year’s bizarre loss at Cleveland can serve the same purpose?
With the way the Patriots have been playing lately, there’s reason to believe it could. Since that 34-14 loss, the Patriots are 5-0. They’ve outscored opponents 196-88 — that’s an average score of 39-18 — and it’s not like they’ve been playing a bunch of nobodies. They’ve beaten the Steelers, Colts, Jets and Bears, and they’re looking as good as ever.
Is it possible they don’t lose again this year?
Their remaining schedule isn’t exactly daunting. On Sunday night, they’ll host the Packers, who will likely be without quarterback Aaron Rodgers after he suffered a concussion on Sunday afternoon. After that, it’s a road trip to Buffalo and a home game against Miami to close out the regular season.
Buffalo in December can present all sorts of challenges (we learned that in ’08) and a Week 17 game against the Dolphins with no real significance always runs the risk of being a throwaway game (unless you’re Doug Flutie), so anything can truly happen.
For perspective’s sake, the Patriots have won 14 games three times — in ’03, ’04 and, of course, ’07. They’ve won 12 games once (2006) and have never finished a season with 13 wins.
Beyond the regular season is a bit more unknown, as the Patriots look like they’ll be asked to win two home playoff games in order to win a trip to the Super Bowl.
It’s an exercise that obviously asks you to get a bid ahead of yourself, but what’s your gut feeling: Will the Patriots lose again this season?
Will the Pats’ next loss come next fall? Share your thoughts below.
Sunday, Dec. 12: Are the ’85 Bears the best team in NFL history?