josh-johnsonby Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

After a 35-7 win, Patriots Daily had to give a second look to determine who should take the dreaded lap. At first glance, Tampa Coach Raheem Morris seemed a strong contestant, but starting quarterback Josh Johnson ended up in our headline.

Morris made one glaringly bad decision. Losing 28-7 late in the third quarter, the Buccaneers faced a fourth and six on the Patriots 35. Instead of going for it and making a bid for a semi-interesting contest, Morris called for a punt. Not to steal columnist Gregg Easterbrook’s impending thunder here, but why give the ball back? New England ended up scoring anyway on a 10-play, 89-yard drive culminating in Laurence Maroney’s walk-in TD and the 35-7 final.

Beyond that iffy call, though, Morris deserves credit for keeping this thing as respectable as possible given the contrasts in personnel. Tampa picked off Tom Brady twice and managed to close the margin to 21-7 at the half. Nope, the burden of the lap goes to Johnson, whose performance can kindly be described as rough: nine of 26 passes completed for 126 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Compiled with only seven yards rushing, Sunday stands out as his worst performance of the season.

The young QB continues to learn, in much the same way a dog (and in some dumb cases, a human) learns about a shock collar. Overall, Johnson has had some reliable performances and should get the benefit of the doubt. But for throwing a pick for a touchdown and missing receivers throughout the afternoon, we’re afraid he owes us a lap.

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