By Kaleb Page
In week five of the NFL season, the New England Patriots beat the Cincinnati Bengals to the score of 43 to 17. However, if you flash back to the week leading up to the game you would find that the story surrounding the Patriots was not one of triumph but rather one of panic.
In week four the Patriots went into Arrowhead Stadium to face off with the Kansas City Chiefs in a Monday night clash. What ensued was a thorough demolition of the Patriots at the hands of the Chiefs, with the final score being 14 to 41. This demolition came as a big surprise due to how lackluster of a performance was put forth by Tom Brady and the rest of the team.
After the game was over it seemed like all of the sports media outlets from ESPN to FOX had developed the “Chicken Little” mentality that the sky was falling for the Patriots. Immediately after the game Trent Dilfer of ESPN went on to say, “The New England Patriots, let’s face it, they’re not good anymore.” Even Stephen A. Smith on First Take went on to say that “They (Patriots) are in a world of trouble.” For much of the week following the game, speculation loomed all around the team even going as far to ask: Is it time for a quarterback change from Tom Brady to Jimmy Garoppolo?
Step back into the now and it seems like that horrible game in Arrowhead is a thing of the past. Tom Brady went out and handled his business, the Patriots defense showed up stopping an emerging Cincinnati offense, and the sounds of madness surrounding the team seemed to fade away.
I think that this just shows, as anyone should do when looking at any sport early in the season, is to in the words of Aaron Rodgers “R-E-L-A-X.” It is early in the NFL season and to write off the football minds of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick probably is not the smart move to make. Especially when this AFC East division is still there for the taking, and the Patriots have had such success winning division titles (11 of the last 13 divisional titles dating back to 2001).
It also should go to show that from time to time we all just need to step back and give credit where credit is due. The Chiefs played a great game that night and were just the better of two good teams that came out to play. The NFL is always evolving week to week and sometimes a bad game is bound to happen, which in the case of the Patriots came in the prime-time slot Monday night where they were the only game on television.
It is easy to freak out when the consistent franchises like the Patriots do terrible on the big stage. However, you should look to step back and realize that it will take time and things will shift back to where they have been. So before this week comes and a new opportunity presents itself to press the panic button, don’t do it!