The New England Patriots went down in defeat against the Houston Texans by a score of 28-22 on Sunday Night Football. Deshaun Watson threw three touchdown passes and had the first touchdown reception of his career. Texans coach and former Patriots assistant Bill O'Brien finally got his first win against Bill Belichick after going 0-5 in the first five meetings. It was Houston's first win against the Patriots since 2010.
The Patriots entered the game needing a win to be the first AFC team to clinch a playoff spot after Oakland's loss to Kansas City. Instead, they struggled to get anything going offensively and Tom Brady clearly looked upset all night long in a game where he was 24 of 47. He threw an interception and was sacked three times. He was hit on 12 other instances as well and was seen yelling at his receivers on the sideline after a drive that resulted in several incompletions in the first half. With the loss the Patriots dropped to the 2 spot in the AFC after the Ravens beat the 49ers.
This was definitely the worst performance from the Patriots all season long. It is no surprise that the Patriots offense did not perform well as they have not performed well the whole season. This was a game where the New England defense had an off night and in result they suffered their second defeat of the season. The Patriots defense has been carrying the team every week and this is the big problem for New England this season because whenever the defense does have an off night against a good team, the Patriots will most likely lose the game.
The question now is can the Patriots rebound to win their seventh Super Bowl? The simple answer: Yes. The simple explanation: They are the New England Patriots and as long as they still have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, you can never ever count them out. Didn't we learn this last year? Many people counted the Patriots out during last season when they finished with an 11-5 record in the regular season and all five of those losses coming to teams that did not make the playoffs. In the playoffs, they blew out a very good Los Angeles Chargers team in the Divisional Round before going into Kansas City and winning in overtime. Then we all know what happened in the Super Bowl where the Patriots beat the Rams 13-3 in a game that was won on . . . let me guess, defense. That's right. Now focusing back on this season, I understand they don't have Rob Gronkowski anymore and the offensive struggles seem to be worse than ever in this two decade Patriot dynasty but I still do believe the Patriots are capable of winning the Super Bowl with the offense they currently have. Could the Patriots use more weapons to improve? Of course. Would having to potentially win at Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game be a tough task? No doubt. The truth is the Patriots are still a good football team with a 10-2 record and the 2 seed in the AFC and I think we have learned at this point that you can never count out the Patriots because they have proved us wrong time and time again.
While I do still think the Patriots can win another Super Bowl, we now have to examine the potential dark side. The big question. Is Tom Brady done (in New England)? The reason I put "in New England" in parentheses is because I think it is a real possibility that he may be done in New England at the end of the season but not done with his career. While I would not be that surprised if he did retire at the end of the season, I still have a feeling that he might play another year or two but not in a Patriots uniform. You may think this sounds crazy but he clearly is not happy with the situation he is in with New England and with the lack of weapons he has on ffense. Why would he want to go through this a whole nother year? Nothing would improve next season. It would still be the same guys and no matter what they do in the draft, there still would not be any significant improvement to the offense. Tom Brady's contract expires at the end of the season when he becomes a free agent. Now you may be wondering where I think he would be willing to go. For me personally, I think the Los Angeles Chargers would the best place for him. It would be perfect for his TB 12 brand with warm weather in Southern California year around. He could also bring Josh McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator with him and have a pretty good team around him. The heck, he could even get Gronk to come out of retirement to join him and have Antonio Brown as well. While this may seem like fantasy land and a long shot to happen, I think everyone needs to realize that the end for Tom Brady in New England could be coming very soon. It would definitely be a tough way for Tom Brady's legendary career with New England to come to an end for all Patriots fans but it would probably be what is best for both him and the Patriots in the long run. While I do think there is still the possibility of the Patriots winning one last Super Bowl with Tom Brady, there is the other side of the spectrum where the reality kicks in that Tom Brady's time in New England might be quickly approaching an end in front of our eyes.