The Game Goat Thread: Wk.8 at Buffalo

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Re: Cam, I know people think it's overstated but I really think COVID has messed up Cam in a big way. Sure he was asymptomatic, but it still was in his system and since missing the KC game he's been noticably less dynamic in all phases of his game. He was a force to be reckoned with against Seattle, now he can barely do anything. It's not unreasonable to think the two might be somehow connected.
 

Super Nomario

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So in four of the five losses, three of which were to very good teams, they were *right there* but couldn't finish the job. So on the positive side, you can say that they might not be as bad as their record indicates. But on the negative side...well...they might just be a loser team finding ways to lose.

They could easily be 4-3, maybe 5-2. Easily. But they're not, and it's time to sell.
They could have done better in close games, but their Pythagorean W/L is 2.7-4.3, so they're only underperforming by a little. The Pats are 6-10 in their past 16 games, including the playoff loss to Tennessee. This is not a good football team.
 

BaseballJones

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They could have done better in close games, but their Pythagorean W/L is 2.7-4.3, so they're only underperforming by a little. The Pats are 6-10 in their past 16 games, including the playoff loss to Tennessee. This is not a good football team.
Right, I agree. That's why I said you are what your record says you are. I'm not saying they *should* have won those close games. I'm saying they *could* have. They were right there. But as I said, one possibility is that they're a loser team right now, finding ways to lose. That seems to be the case, sadly.
 

johnmd20

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Re: Cam, I know people think it's overstated but I really think COVID has messed up Cam in a big way. Sure he was asymptomatic, but it still was in his system and since missing the KC game he's been noticably less dynamic in all phases of his game. He was a force to be reckoned with against Seattle, now he can barely do anything. It's not unreasonable to think the two might be somehow connected.
He did run much better yesterday than he has in the past few weeks. Maybe it takes a little bit to come back? But you are certainly correct, he doesn't look like the same player.

And look at Elliot on Dallas. Granted, his team is a dumpster fire post Dak but he looks awful. 19 for 63 yesterday.
 

Ralphwiggum

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I thought they had found something in the 2nd half offensively, which was encouraging. Cam's fumble was obviously killer, but I am more concerned with the defense getting absolutely shredded by a team that had struggled to run the ball. Not sure how they go about fixing that.

Maybe I am crazy but I do expect them to play better from here on out, assuming no more huge COVID interruptions (which is obviously not a sure thing at all). I don't think BB has it in him to tank or not to try win every time out, and they'll be able to figure out enough to win a handful of games and maybe even pull off an upset or two.
 

Captaincoop

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Re: Cam, I know people think it's overstated but I really think COVID has messed up Cam in a big way. Sure he was asymptomatic, but it still was in his system and since missing the KC game he's been noticably less dynamic in all phases of his game. He was a force to be reckoned with against Seattle, now he can barely do anything. It's not unreasonable to think the two might be somehow connected.
Seattle was a completely punchless defense that put no pressure on him and didn't cover anyone. Go back and watch him against Vegas. He looked like he did yesterday.
 

NomarsFool

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I think we've got it all wrong. BB is tanking without anyone realizing he is tanking :)
 

Bowhemian

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The defense gets the goat from me. Specifically, the entire line, but especially the linebackers.
With that said, Bentley gets the goat of all goats. He was terrible....again.
 

pappymojo

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Over the past couple of years, the Patriots first pick has been at 32 (2015), 60 (2016 - deflategate penalty), 83 (2017 - traded for Brandon Cooks), 23 (2018 - traded Brandon Cooks away), 32 (2019), & 37 (2020 - traded 23rd pick for 37 and 71).
 

mauf

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Could he have gotten that far in the doghouse over the ill-timed penalty a couple of weeks ago, and jawing a little bit about it on the sideline? I would think/hope Bill has a thicker skin and bigger picture view than that.
This season is about preserving the culture and figuring out if the 2021 QB is on the current roster. If benching one of our 11 best guys helps with the former, I’m all for it.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Winovich is lousy against the run, thus the lack of playing time. The fact that the rest of the defense also appears to be lousy against the run doesn't negate the logic behind Win's snap count. If, as rumored, he's also got a self-publicizing attitude in interviews, etc, that's even more of a reason to limit his snaps.

We've seen this with other players too, the playing time is always dependent on the scheme for the opponent. I'm not lighting any candles for Winovich right now. When it's determined that he can help the team, he will play more. Perhaps in the meantime he can work hard in practice to make the coaches put him in.

I swear these guys grow long hair outside of their helmets and half the fanbase goes insane lol.
 

mauf

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Cam fumbled because he didn’t switch the ball to his outside (left) arm like he should have. He did the same thing on the TD run.

Is this something he does (or doesn’t do) on a regular basis?

Cam always looked like a natural runner to me, even compared to other mobile QBs, so it would surprise me if he didn’t execute a basic fundamental like this. But I never watched Cam as closely in his Carolina days as I am now.
 

BigSoxFan

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He did run much better yesterday than he has in the past few weeks. Maybe it takes a little bit to come back? But you are certainly correct, he doesn't look like the same player.

And look at Elliot on Dallas. Granted, his team is a dumpster fire post Dak but he looks awful. 19 for 63 yesterday.
I think Zeke is a combination of OL issues and poor QB play, which is obviously a death knell for a RB. They need to figure out how to get him the ball in space. Maybe play action and then dump off screens. Couldn't do that with DiNucci but should be able to do it with Dalton.
 

lexrageorge

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What exactly did Wino say in that interview? I didn't hear it. I mean, if he threw the coaches and teammates under the bus, I could understand discipline. But so many players have done radio interviews in the past and haven't been disciplined, so there needs to be more explanation.

EDIT: The default explanation is that it's a football move, and based on everything Belichick has done this past 20 years, I have little reason to doubt that. It may the wrong move from a football perspective; no coach is right 100% of the time. But Bill has been right about these things far more often than he's been wrong, perhaps with one notable exception in Butler.
 
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cshea

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Quoted the wrong post. This was in response to Mauf's post.

He did the same thing on the long run down on the final drive that got them to the 30 (or thereabouts) He was very loose with it on that run too.

He said after the game he is right hand dominant, and feels more comfortable and secure holding the ball on the right so, without looking at tape, I assume that's how he's always carried it.
 

rodderick

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Bower, Calhoun and Rivers got more snaps than Winovich yesterday. If it's solely about not being able to set the edge and hold up against the running game then the guy is a major bust considering they have been demolished by running backs in the past two games. How much worse can he be than the guys who are playing?
 

BigJimEd

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Wino was a 3rd round pick. Even if he doesn't develop more and never becomes more than a situational player that is far from a major bust.
 

BaseballJones

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What I don't understand is that he was graded out as being very good against the run early in the year - one of the best edge-setters in the league the first few weeks. Suddenly he sucks at that?

Either the grading system was way off, or BB is looking for something different. Something doesn't quite add up.
 

tims4wins

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What I don't understand is that he was graded out as being very good against the run early in the year - one of the best edge-setters in the league the first few weeks. Suddenly he sucks at that?

Either the grading system was way off, or BB is looking for something different. Something doesn't quite add up.
Yeah I was going to post exactly this.
 

cornwalls@6

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This season is about preserving the culture and figuring out if the 2021 QB is on the current roster. If benching one of our 11 best guys helps with the former, I’m all for it.
I don't disagree at all, I just don't think the incident in question rises to the level of a threat or disruption to their culture, if what we know about it is all there is. However, as other have pointed out well, this is very likely just a football decision, and they see some deficiencies in his game that causes them to think he's not the best option to be getting a lot snaps at the moment.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Yeah I was going to post exactly this.
We also know that the Pats firmly believe that there is no such thing as a game day player, that success on game day comes from success and hard work in practice. If Wino is having shitty practices and film sessions, if he's making mistakes without correcting them, then he's not going to see the field on Sunday.
 

BaseballJones

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To my point a few minutes ago, here's this article on how well he was playing in both the pass and run games...


"As the New England Patriots continue to remodel their linebacker group, Chase Winovich is making an impact.

They say numbers never lie, and in his case, Winovich, he is in some elite company when it comes to his statistics. He ranks second among all as defenders in runs stop win rate, and is six in pass rush win rate.

The Michigan product is just one of four players to rank in the top 10 in both categories. The others? Khalil Mack, Brandon Graham, and Joey Bosa. Mack is the leader among the quartet as he ranks first in run stop win rate, and fifth in pass rush win rate."

Then this tweet accompanied the story:

35552
 

BaseballJones

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Now I'm wondering if BB will trade him. Clearly he has ability, and has some proven success in the NFL in his short career. He's also super inexpensive. Could they get a 2nd rounder for him from someone in need of a pass-rusher?
 

Super Nomario

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View: https://twitter.com/MarkDanielsPJ/status/1323257015934820353


View: https://twitter.com/MarkDanielsPJ/status/1323280113698512898

Per NFL GSIS, opponents are averaging 4.38 yards per carry when Winovich is on the field. They're averaging 4.51 yards per carry when Winovich is OFF the field. So, the Patriots defense is allowing less yards per carry when Winovich plays.
I think that last stat just reinforces that Winovich is sitting more against running teams. Winovich's lowest snap counts in 2019: TEN (2), BUF (8), BAL (9), BUF and DAL (11) - all teams with formidable rushing attacks
 

BigSoxFan

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Now I'm wondering if BB will trade him. Clearly he has ability, and has some proven success in the NFL in his short career. He's also super inexpensive. Could they get a 2nd rounder for him from someone in need of a pass-rusher?
Highly unlikely. Maybe a 4th, IMO. I certainly hope he figures it out here. We just don't have any promising young front 7 talent at all. It's a real problem. Hopefully Uche pops in the 2nd half because that cupboard is almost empty.
 

BaseballJones

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Buffalo is 20th in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 108.6. And that's *after* their blowup against the Pats (190 yards on 38 attempts, 5.0 ypc). They are also 20th in ypc at 4.1, again this is after the Pats game.

So before yesterday's game, Buffalo was a well below average running team. Now maybe BB figured that the weather would turn it into a run contest (he was right; Buffalo ran 38 times, and attempted 18 passes).
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Buffalo is 20th in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 108.6. And that's *after* their blowup against the Pats (190 yards on 38 attempts, 5.0 ypc). They are also 20th in ypc at 4.1, again this is after the Pats game.

So before yesterday's game, Buffalo was a well below average running team. Now maybe BB figured that the weather would turn it into a run contest (he was right; Buffalo ran 38 times, and attempted 18 passes).
Exactly. The weather forecast was terrible for passing, so they rightly decided the run game deserved more attention.
 

BaseballJones

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Keep in mind that NE is often compared to teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, who consistently win. But over this 19-year dynasty...

- NE finished with fewer than 10 wins only once, in 2002 in Brady's "sophomore" year as a starter. Even then they went 9-7 and tied for first in the division (losing out on like a 3rd tier tiebreaker).

- Only twice did NE miss the playoffs (2002 and 2008, when they went 11-5, tied for first in the division, and again lost out on tiebreakers).

- Pittsburgh has had records of 6-10, 8-8 (4x), and 9-7. They missed the playoffs 7 times over this span.

- Baltimore has had records of 5-11 (2x), 6-10, 7-9, 8-8 (2x), and 9-7 (3x). They missed the playoffs 8 times over this span.

So these other great franchises have all had multiple down seasons where they got to have a bit of a reset. New England hasn't had that, like, at all, during their dynasty.

So to see the phrase, "This is what the fall of a dynasty looks like," it just makes me chuckle, because never in the history of the sport have we seen a run like the Patriots went on. Yeah, when you have to draft (because of your success) at the back of every round every single year, and when the NFL literally steals four draft picks from you (two 1sts, a 4th, and a 3rd) because other teams are jealous of your success, yeah, that stuff adds up. You can cover for that only for so long before you have to reset and start over.

Well, here we are, resetting and starting over. It's not a bad thing. This is easily the most relaxed I've been watching the Patriots since the dynasty started. It's ok. It really is.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Keep in mind that NE is often compared to teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, who consistently win. But over this 19-year dynasty...

- NE finished with fewer than 10 wins only once, in 2002 in Brady's "sophomore" year as a starter. Even then they went 9-7 and tied for first in the division (losing out on like a 3rd tier tiebreaker).

- Only twice did NE miss the playoffs (2002 and 2008, when they went 11-5, tied for first in the division, and again lost out on tiebreakers).

- Pittsburgh has had records of 6-10, 8-8 (4x), and 9-7. They missed the playoffs 7 times over this span.

- Baltimore has had records of 5-11 (2x), 6-10, 7-9, 8-8 (2x), and 9-7 (3x). They missed the playoffs 8 times over this span.

So these other great franchises have all had multiple down seasons where they got to have a bit of a reset. New England hasn't had that, like, at all, during their dynasty.

So to see the phrase, "This is what the fall of a dynasty looks like," it just makes me chuckle, because never in the history of the sport have we seen a run like the Patriots went on. Yeah, when you have to draft (because of your success) at the back of every round every single year, and when the NFL literally steals four draft picks from you (two 1sts, a 4th, and a 3rd) because other teams are jealous of your success, yeah, that stuff adds up. You can cover for that only for so long before you have to reset and start over.

Well, here we are, resetting and starting over. It's not a bad thing. This is easily the most relaxed I've been watching the Patriots since the dynasty started. It's ok. It really is.
And as is the case in any sport these days, when you have a down year it’s better to be really bad rather than just mediocre. So I’m okay with a 2-5 win season or whatever if the alternative is a 7-9 win season where the Pats either barely miss the playoffs, or barely make it but with no realistic shot at a Super Bowl.
 

pappymojo

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Keep in mind that NE is often compared to teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, who consistently win. But over this 19-year dynasty...

- NE finished with fewer than 10 wins only once, in 2002 in Brady's "sophomore" year as a starter. Even then they went 9-7 and tied for first in the division (losing out on like a 3rd tier tiebreaker).

- Only twice did NE miss the playoffs (2002 and 2008, when they went 11-5, tied for first in the division, and again lost out on tiebreakers).

- Pittsburgh has had records of 6-10, 8-8 (4x), and 9-7. They missed the playoffs 7 times over this span.

- Baltimore has had records of 5-11 (2x), 6-10, 7-9, 8-8 (2x), and 9-7 (3x). They missed the playoffs 8 times over this span.

So these other great franchises have all had multiple down seasons where they got to have a bit of a reset. New England hasn't had that, like, at all, during their dynasty.

So to see the phrase, "This is what the fall of a dynasty looks like," it just makes me chuckle, because never in the history of the sport have we seen a run like the Patriots went on. Yeah, when you have to draft (because of your success) at the back of every round every single year, and when the NFL literally steals four draft picks from you (two 1sts, a 4th, and a 3rd) because other teams are jealous of your success, yeah, that stuff adds up. You can cover for that only for so long before you have to reset and start over.

Well, here we are, resetting and starting over. It's not a bad thing. This is easily the most relaxed I've been watching the Patriots since the dynasty started. It's ok. It really is.
This is where I am. We are resetting with draft picks and salary space. We are, also, dealing with what might be the strangest sports season of the last 80 years.

I am not very upset about his season.
I am, also, not concerned about this team for future years.
 

Captaincoop

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And as is the case in any sport these days, when you have a down year it’s better to be really bad rather than just mediocre. So I’m okay with a 2-5 win season or whatever if the alternative is a 7-9 win season where the Pats either barely miss the playoffs, or barely make it but with no realistic shot at a Super Bowl.
Also if it's going to happen, let it happen in the year of empty stadiums and canceled games. I am 100% invested in seeing how Belichick rebuilds. It will be interesting and fun to watch.
 

Royal Reader

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Well, here we are, resetting and starting over. It's not a bad thing. This is easily the most relaxed I've been watching the Patriots since the dynasty started. It's ok. It really is.
Yeah, I really enjoyed the Matt Cassel season in a similar manner. I think all I ever wanted for Boston sports since 2008 was the fourth Brady/Belichick ring (and in the latter part of the decade without a Lombardi, to make the "No rings since spygate" crowd fuck the fuck off). People watch BC. I enjoyed the early Stevens Celtics. Watching football on a Sunday (evening, here) is still plenty fun.

The big unknown is whether Belichick ages out of the league before he gets enough talent to seriously contend again.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Well, here we are, resetting and starting over. It's not a bad thing. This is easily the most relaxed I've been watching the Patriots since the dynasty started. It's ok. It really is.
And this is why I gave out under 8.5 wins for the Pats as the lock of the century prior to the season. This team wasn't going to compete this season with that schedule. In fact, I think COVID helped them because they aren't facing opposing crowds, on top of the opposing teams. I also was blasted around here for suggesting that folks may be surprised at why one guy plays, one guy doesn't, why BB calls a play (hello onside kick), etc. This season is all about development and figuring out what he has going forward and who he wants to build around.

If anything, I think Wino is sitting because BB knows who he is. He now wants to learn who these other guys are, so he can determine if they are part of the future. BB has forgotten more about football than any of us will ever know, and the idea he thought he could carry this team to double digit wins with the lack of talent and depth and speed is very strange to me. The best thing for this team and us as fans of this team is if they play well, develop the younger players and lose every fucking game this season. Like you, I've never been so relaxed on Sundays....
 

Super Nomario

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If anything, I think Wino is sitting because BB knows who he is. He now wants to learn who these other guys are, so he can determine if they are part of the future.
Agree with much of your post, but I don't buy this one. Wino didn't lose to snaps to younger, more unproven guys; he lost snaps to Simon and Wise, who are even more established. If Anfernee Jennings had gotten Winovich's usual snaps, you might have a case, but Jennings didn't see the field, Uche played only 12 snaps, etc. They're losing, but by-and-large they're losing with established vets, not with youth.
 

E5 Yaz

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Agree with much of your post, but I don't buy this one. Wino didn't lose to snaps to younger, more unproven guys; he lost snaps to Simon and Wise, who are even more established. If Anfernee Jennings had gotten Winovich's usual snaps, you might have a case, but Jennings didn't see the field, Uche played only 12 snaps, etc. They're losing, but by-and-large they're losing with established vets, not with youth.
View: https://twitter.com/PhilAPerry/status/1323255680858529793
 

mauf

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And as is the case in any sport these days, when you have a down year it’s better to be really bad rather than just mediocre. So I’m okay with a 2-5 win season or whatever if the alternative is a 7-9 win season where the Pats either barely miss the playoffs, or barely make it but with no realistic shot at a Super Bowl.
The NFL isn’t the NBA or MLB. You can’t play professional football not to win and expect to preserve any sort of positive culture. The NFL teams that have punted have done so because there was little left in their culture that was worth preserving. That’s not the Patriots’ situation.
 

tims4wins

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And this is why I gave out under 8.5 wins for the Pats as the lock of the century prior to the season. This team wasn't going to compete this season with that schedule. In fact, I think COVID helped them because they aren't facing opposing crowds, on top of the opposing teams. I also was blasted around here for suggesting that folks may be surprised at why one guy plays, one guy doesn't, why BB calls a play (hello onside kick), etc. This season is all about development and figuring out what he has going forward and who he wants to build around.

If anything, I think Wino is sitting because BB knows who he is. He now wants to learn who these other guys are, so he can determine if they are part of the future. BB has forgotten more about football than any of us will ever know, and the idea he thought he could carry this team to double digit wins with the lack of talent and depth and speed is very strange to me. The best thing for this team and us as fans of this team is if they play well, develop the younger players and lose every fucking game this season. Like you, I've never been so relaxed on Sundays....
You lose me with Wino. When has BB never tried everything possible to win the game at end (week 17 2015 notwithstanding). Football players play football.

Edit: I'm on board with everyone else though - this is the year to be bad. I don't even remotely care right now.
 

ShaneTrot

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Baltimore hasn't won a playoff game since 2014. NE has won three Super Bowls since 2014. They are the most overrated team in the league. I hate it when they are compared to the Pats.

If they keep going with Cam, that's all we need to know about Stidham. I am cool with seeing what all the young players can bring to the table. I have had enough of Izzo. He cannot block worth a damn.
 

OurF'ingCity

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The NFL isn’t the NBA or MLB. You can’t play professional football not to win and expect to preserve any sort of positive culture. The NFL teams that have punted have done so because there was little left in their culture that was worth preserving. That’s not the Patriots’ situation.
I didn't say anything about intentionally tanking. I'm just saying as a fan, all else being equal, I'd rather the Pats get a better draft pick if the alternative is a mediocre year with no shot at a Super Bowl regardless. I agree with you insofar as I think Belichick will still try to win every game, even if they are something horrible like 2-12 going into the final two weeks or something. And I will still appreciate every Patriots win. But from the broader perspective there is a benefit to being really bad as opposed to merely mediocre.
 

Ralphwiggum

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If BB was OK with losing in order to see what he has and develop youth, signing Cam Newton made zero sense, and continuing to play him now makes even less sense. He's trying to win football games, that's what he does, and as I wrote in the "tank" thread there's no way he's going to let anyone in that locker room think for two seconds that losing is in any way, shape or form an acceptable outcome. I think he's realistic about the roster and the circumstances and probably has adjusted expectations about the season on the whole, but each week he's game planning like he always has and putting the team out on the field that is the best one to win that week.
 

Deathofthebambino

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You lose me with Wino. When has BB never tried everything possible to win the game at end (week 17 2015 notwithstanding). Football players play football.

Edit: I'm on board with everyone else though - this is the year to be bad. I don't even remotely care right now.

You don't have to believe me, just read between the lines of what Bill is saying:

View: https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/1322526524961161216/photo/1


Football players play football, but if the coaches aren't using the best available players because they want to see what younger or unproven players have, or they call onsides kicks that make zero sense from any standpoint, well, it certainly begs the question. Intentionally tanking and not putting your best foot forward in an effort to plan for the future aren't that far apart. Unless he gets traded, Wino will be on this team next year. Tashawn Bower may or may not be, so now's the time to see if he's worth it, etc.

If Bower goes out there and turns into Lawrence Taylor, and they win the game because he made a strip sack, that's great and all, but I don't believe "winning" is all that matters in a season like this at this point, and I think Bill recognizes it too.
 

Steve Dillard

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This is where I am. We are resetting with draft picks and salary space. We are, also, dealing with what might be the strangest sports season of the last 80 years.

I am not very upset about his season.
I am, also, not concerned about this team for future years.
Agreeing with a post that coincides the dynasty with a single GOAT player, and pointing out that we are now in a complete rebuild because the GM stinks at making draft picks and personnel decisions seems like an odd combination. Our draft thread is called "Wait, Who?" which was quaint when he hit on off the board picks, but seems less so now.
 
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tims4wins

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You don't have to believe me, just read between the lines of what Bill is saying:

View: https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/1322526524961161216/photo/1


Football players play football, but if the coaches aren't using the best available players because they want to see what younger or unproven players have, or they call onsides kicks that make zero sense from any standpoint, well, it certainly begs the question. Intentionally tanking and not putting your best foot forward in an effort to plan for the future aren't that far apart. Unless he gets traded, Wino will be on this team next year. Tashawn Bower may or may not be, so now's the time to see if he's worth it, etc.

If Bower goes out there and turns into Lawrence Taylor, and they win the game because he made a strip sack, that's great and all, but I don't believe "winning" is all that matters in a season like this at this point, and I think Bill recognizes it too.
Are we reading the same quote?

Here are the snap counts from yesterday

View: https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/1323215456908595200/photo/1


I don't know how you can say he knows what he has in Wino, Uche, and Jennings, while reconciling that with playing John Simon and Deatrich Wise 47 snaps each. If anything he knows exactly what he has with those guys, and Wino, Uche, and Jennings should be getting the reps / experience.
 

NomarsFool

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Dec 21, 2001
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Didn't Winovich have one pretty good play when he was in there? Not that it was game breaking or anything. It's just sort of unintentionally funny that a guy plays 5 snaps and still manages to have an impact. He must somehow really suck against the run, because it's not like the rest of the run defense was any good.
 

Ralphwiggum

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Jun 27, 2012
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In terms of the on-sides kick (which I didn't have a problem with), BB confirms that there was something they saw on tape that led them to believe it would work:

View: https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/1323351836263387145?s=20


Question: On the onside kick, was there something you saw in the Bills' technique - maybe whether they were turning before the ball was kicked - that contributed to the decision to attempt it? Bill Belichick: "Yes."