posted at 9/21/2009 10:21 PM EDT
I remember there was similar sentiment back in early 2003 after the Patriots were embarrassed by Buffalo 31-0. People were wondering if the Super Bowl was a fluke and if we were watching a team fade back to mediocrity. The team lost one game for the rest of the season (at Washington) before winning out through the Super Bowl well into the next season. The important thing was that the team improved as the year progressed.
At the very least, it's WAY too soon to pass judgment on the season already.
If they continue to work hard and improve, I think the in-game experience that Galloway and Edelman got yesterday in an extremely hostile environment will pay off later in the year when they visit places like Indianapolis where they'll need to be able to make plays to all four receivers.
Could the Pats have played Welker? If it were the playoffs, I'd have to say that Welker would have been able to push through because I think he's tough. Could they have run elaborate plays from deep in their playbook to get Moss open? Probably, but if Brady's not comfortable yet, it doesn't matter. Unless Brady reinjures his knee, he's only going to get more comfortable as the year progresses, and defenses will pay for it.
For not having Jerod Mayo, the defense didn't do all that bad. 16 points is respectable. Guyton's ability to shed off blockers and make impact tackles (as opposed to being pushed back 3 yards, then dragged another 2-3 yards) will only improve as the season progresses. This could also be an asset if and when Mayo returns, because they'll have two stud middle linebackers if they go 3-4 while still being able to change looks as necessary.
This week's game against the Falcons will say a lot about how this team responds to adversity.
And if I could only pick one, I'd rather win in November than in September, anyway.