by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
October 12, 2009

Where do I begin?

I’ll start with the second conference loss in five weeks. This shit adds up when it comes to tiebreakers in December. That is if we’re even having those conversations in December. Yesterday’s second-half collapse – and the futility displayed therein – was that disconcerting.

When the Pats defense made its last, best stop of the game to turn Denver away before it could win in regulation, I said a little football prayer that the coin flip would come up for New England. It didn’t, and I couldn’t help but think of the last time the Patriots defense played overtime. What followed was eerily familiar, even if the principals were different; a sobering reminder of how far this transitioning defense has yet to go.

In fairness, they were on the field for almost 23 of the final 35 minutes. Which brings me to Tom Brady and the popgun Patriots offense, who don’t scare anyone more than ten yards away from them.

Let me just say this about Brady – spare me the celebrity-stalking pud-pulling because it’s as plain as day what’s “wrong” with him.  His decision-making, his timing, and his execution all suck, and we should be expecting it to, because you don’t sit out of football for a year rebuilding your tattered knee and emerge unscathed.

I defy you to offer a better explanation for that ridiculously ill-timed and ill-thrown slant to Wes Welker that could have won the game for the Patriots. Brady’s antsy, anxious read on that golden opportunity was so unlike anything proffered by his pre-injury self that the cause is as obvious as the effect. There is still more scar tissue – both physical and mental – left to break through, and until Brady does, it will seem as if the entire New England offense is trying to come back from major reconstructive knee surgery.

Not that the others don’t need some kind of rehabilitation themselves. In two straight weeks the Patriots offensive line has allowed someone a clean shot to separate their quarterback from the football. And suddenly, the Patriots passing game has become about as vertical as Tiny Elvis. Man, look at the size of this field! It’s HUGE! And the ball! It’s HUGE!

They’ve played two road games and haven’t scored a point in the second half of either one.

The unfortunate truth is that time waits for no one, least of all a hobbled New England Patriots. These games count, even if Tom Brady and the rest aren’t quite ready for them. Until they are, the Patriots seem destined to run with the pack, rather than in front of it.

E-mail Scott Benson at scott@patriotsdaily.com