Patriots' struggles continue in 28-13 loss to Saints

·3 min read

The New England Patriots lost on Sunday, going down 28-13 to the New Orleans Saints. It's their second loss in three games, and while they struggled in their previous two games, this week was a whole new level.

They had issues everywhere, in every part of their game. The offense, as a whole, got bullied. Mac Jones threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and took some tough sacks. Jonnu Smith, one of the big ticket tight ends from the Patriots' record-breaking offseason, had four drops (and one of them led to that pick-six).

The Pats didn't get any points on the board until late in the second quarter, when they managed a field goal. They did manage to score a touchdown — their only one of the game — in the fourth quarter, but the Saints immediately answered back with their fourth touchdown of the day.

That brings up the Patriots defense, which wasn't brutal on Sunday, but still didn't have an answer for the Saints. And the Pats had a leg up because Saints Pro Bowl offensive tackle Terron Armstead left the game very early with an elbow injury and didn't return.

Nothing really went right for the Pats. That was pretty much clear from the start, and was definitely clear by the second quarter when the Saints blocked a punt and went on to score a touchdown.

The Patriots and quarterback Mac Jones continued to struggle in Week 3. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Patriots and quarterback Mac Jones continued to struggle in Week 3. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Patriots struggle the new norm?

After three games, it feels like this push and pull between being functional and being bad is going to be the theme of the Patriots' 2021 season. In their first game against the Miami Dolphins, they couldn't score the game-tying touchdown two different times, instead settling for field goals. They were gifted with an interception in the fourth quarter and took it all the way to Miami's 11-yard line, only to fumble. The Dolphins ran out the clock and won 17-16.

The Patriots faced the New York Jets in Week 2, which ended as a 25-6 win, but a team of manatees in helmets and jerseys could beat the Jets at this point. Zach Wilson is the most-sacked QB in the league, and he'd thrown five interceptions before Week 3 even started. Winning against the Jets isn't a mark of quality, and good teams should dominate them offensively — something the Pats simply couldn't do.

There's no reason the Patriots can't improve. They used to start slow with Tom Brady all the time. Smith could stop dropping the ball. The offensive line could start protecting Jones. Jones could get his feet under him. The defense could start, you know, actually defending.

Until then, this is who the Patriots are. They're a team on the bottom end of mediocre. And the only way that'll get better is if the entire team improves together.