Eight Takeaways From the Patriots Loss to the Bengals on Christmas Eve

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Gillette Stadium – In a 22-18 loss to the Bengals at Gillette Stadium on Christmas Eve, the Patriots’ comeback bid failed in a very predictable way.

Our reaction for the first 40 minutes was the same as everyone else watching the game. They quit after losing to the Raiders last week. They gave up the season and coaching, and their season ended when Chandler Jones crossed the finish line in Las Vegas.

They still couldn’t get over the hump, but the Patriots at least stopped the fight in the second half and turned back, making it a one-score game. It was a football that responded. Surprise, surprise. Endgame execution, not effort or buy-in, continues to haunt this team.

“I read a book called The Culture Code. We fall into the thought process of how the New England Patriots are doing. But the truth of the matter is that culture is built year after year. What we’ve seen in the past is that’s what they’ve been building and what they’ve been doing. and find three plays, two plays to decide the game.”

“The team has to keep building on that. Each game, each experience is a new experience for this team. We have a lot of young players. We have second-year quarterbacks. Everything builds. You have to take lessons and keep getting better,” captain Devin McCourty told

Leading 22-18 late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Mac Jones had a versatile arsenal with a successful 15-yard screen pass to Marcus Jones into the red zone. On the ensuing play, Pat ran the ball four times in a row, and the final rushing attempt resulted in a fumble by second-year Rhamondre Stevenson.

After back-to-back game-losing turnovers on offense, players on the field had to take responsibility, with Stevenson saying, “I probably did more than I was supposed to. I probably should have gone down.” was responsible for But the Patriots saw him trying to accomplish two things at the same time by running the ball on four straight plays. It was to run out the clock and score the game-winning touchdown. Head his coach Bill his Belichick confirmed that in the post-match press conference.

“We were trying to control time, we were trying to score. They used timeouts. In the last game, we were controlling time and field position. What was that? First down play,” Belichick said. .

For an offense that ranks lowest in red zone scoring and is trying to find a way to win close combat, these Patriots aren’t equipped like the teams of old to accomplish these tasks simultaneously. Hmm. Ideally, it would be nice to be able to score a go-ahead touchdown and leave Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in front of the clock. But how do you run a 4-, 5-, 6-run streak and get it done without him losing 4 on a negative play or turnover? just score.

Blaming players for poor ball safety and poor execution late in the game. It’s a valid criticism. Still, it’s also fair to ask if the coach put his team in the best possible position for victory in the final minutes.

The Patriots are again below .500, going 7-8. That is, they are no longer in control of their destiny. Even with a win in the last two games, it’s a long shot, but it’s worth watching how this team holds up against each other in the uncertain offseason on the horizon.

Here are eight takeaways as the Patriots slipped to 7-8 with two games left in the season.

1. Powerful play from Enel: Marcus Jones’ 69-yard pick 6 brings the Patriots to life in the 3rd quarter

The Patriots’ defense struggled heavily in the first half, but tied a franchise record with six defensive touchdowns in the two games they played in the season. This time, we turned the game upside down.

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