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The finale confirmed what we already knew: the Patriots lost

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Patriots

No other play could more perfectly sum up a dysfunctional New England Patriots game than the one they did in Vegas.

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Patriots quarterback Mack Jones (R) comes to the sidelines to confer with assistant coaches Joe Judge (L) and Matt Patricia (C) in the second quarter with New England deep in Raiders territory. They will not score a touchdown on the drive and have to settle for a field goal. Jim Davis/Boston Globe

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It was perfect.

Fifty years from now, it will still be the most defining sequence for the 2022 New England Patriots, a disastrous combination of incompetence reinforced by the fact that the team just isn’t smart enough to keep up with the talents of the walkers.

This was one of the key characteristics that helped Bill Belichick become the NFL’s second-greatest coach of all time, coaching talent that might be less than competitive across the field into a disciplined unit where the amount was often greater. Even with Tom Brady at the helm, Belichick-coached teams often waited for the other team to screw up while they, quietly, caught up with the basics of the game. Just waiting for the right time to pounce.

Whatever embers were still smoldering from the Patriots’ two-decade-long dynasty were extinguished in a matter of seconds Sunday night in Las Vegas, where the Patriots could have been, should have defeated the obnoxious Josh McDaniels’ Raiders. the The ultimate play of the game It was so stupid that it completely overshadowed the controversy surrounding one of the worst replay reviews of the NFL season just moments earlier.

Interrupt via video replay or not, Presented by Kellan Cole He was out of bounds on a 30-yard “touchdown” pass that quarterback Derek Carr threw to tie the game at 24 with less than a minute remaining. The replay confirmed this fairly clearly. NFL Senior Vice President Walt Anderson said afterwards that “there was nothing clear and obvious that his foot was touching White,” so the umpires had to stay the way they were called on the field. It was the Tuck Rule for a whole new generation of fans.

But that apparent mistake wasn’t what caused the Patriots’ loss on Sunday. Blame the incompetence of the team in general for this.

Former Pro Bowl quarterback Mac Jones He was, once again, terrible, this time against the former Offensive Coordinator. Jones completed just 13 of 31 passes on Sunday, and it was the day his lousy offensive line in front of him produced his best performance of the season. It was the first time since the Chicago game that Jones had not been ejected at least once. First time since Week 2 of the season in Pittsburgh if you want to look for a game where the starting QB has played more than a few series. Meanwhile, linebackers Rhamondre Stevenson and Pierre Strong, Jr. combined for the lead. at 197 yards on the ground, reinforcing the argument that this is the only thing the Patriots can do effectively.

Someone might want to point this out to Matt Patricia, Joe Judge, Great Gazzo, or whoever shoots plays in the red as New England’s offense has continued to flatline. At one point in the first half, the Patriots actually scored a pair of touchdowns on one possession. do not count.

One was a neat Jones pass to Jacoby Myers in the back of the end zone that was nullified by a Patriots timeout, and another was called back thanks to a false start by Jono Smith. More modestly, the Raiders have allowed something like — 100 percent — of all opponent drives inside the five-yard line for a touchdown over their last four games. Then, here come the New England Patriots, where the ball at one yard line usually means the field goal attempt is coming.

However, just in time, the Patriots won the game. Or at least head into overtime.

This is where the real fun began.

Let’s be clear, in crafting the Dumbest Play in NFL History™, it’s easy to place the blame squarely on the hands of Stevenson and Myers, who made decisions in the heat of the moment that will go down in the history of sports’ biggest fouls. Were they unaware that the score was even? Did Patricia order them to try something goofy to avoid the extra work? Didn’t anyone in the assembly reiterate the importance of not turning the ball over? And why the hell wouldn’t Belichick take a knee anyway with only seconds on the clock? What happened to everything we’ve been complaining about for years?

You know what happened. Stephenson exploded for a 23-yard gain on the final play, a development that may have encouraged running backs for the win right then and there. This is when he should have given up.

Instead, Stevenson threw the ball back to Myers, who looked like the bottle had just fallen on him in a spin-only game with his sisters and aunts. you don’t know what to do, Myers threw the ball to centerbut it ended up near old friend Chandler Jones, who hit the ball and ran it in for the final score.

30. Patriots 24.

perfect.

No other play could more perfectly sum up a dysfunctional New England Patriots game than the one they did in Vegas. In terms of situational football, the fundamentals of the game that Belichick preached in his coaching since the dawn of time have completely broken down, revealing the team’s core unsuitable for broadcasting (NBC dumped this game, remember, for the Giants and Chiefs). Meanwhile, the prisoners openly revolt against Patricia and Judge, the special teams remain a laughing stock, and Mack Jones throws short passes on the floor. The good news is that the delusion among us can now be stopped with the comic parting push.

Who is to blame in this game? Where do you start?

History will record Stephenson and Myers as architects, but the season was lost long before this stupidity happened.

This play confirms everything we thought was true about the Patriots this season. that they should they earned more; Specifically against Green Bay, Minnesota and Vegas. that they could Being 10-4 and competing for the top seed in the AFC.

Actually, you know that’s not who the Patriots are.

If there’s any confusion about that, just take a look at Sunday in Vegas, where the team confirmed that collectively they’re dumber than we could ever imagine.

Three games left this season. None of them matter.

What a perfect disaster.

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