It's safe to say at this point I'm exasperated.
Patriots losses are harder to take than Red Sox losses, for several reasons. First and foremost, the Patriots play almost exactly a tenth as many regular-season games as the Red Sox, making each individual weekly game approximately ten times more individually important as each regular-season Red Sox game. The Patriots have also been more dominant in recent years, World Series win or no, and so I probably expect more from them, unfair though that may be.
But the biggest difference is that there's still so much possibility, this early in the Patriots' season, that I can't afford to be philosophical about a loss, even if it's to Denver and Denver : the Patriots :: the Patriots : the Colts. Even if, in previous championship seasons, this has been exactly the point in time where our one or two losses took place, around week 3 or 4.
Still. Despite the fact that the talking heads are harping on the loss of Deion Branch (and now, in a prime example of Monday-morning quarterbacking, David Givens, who nobody cared about until Branch left and givens' name could be thrown into the mix just to heap on the criticism) and have been predicting our doom and gloom since the preseason, I still believe the Patriots are fully capable of winning it all again this year, just like they did in 2001 with a bunch of no-names, and in 2003 with a bunch of underestimated journeymen. I believe in Belichick and Pioli's system, and I believe it is still working.
Hence the stomach-punch feeling of a loss. I didn't even watch the Sox get pummeled by the Jays, who are now closing in on finishing the season in second place, just to add the final flourish of indignity to this miserable waste of a season. But I was in front of the TV, eyes open like Reche Caldwell (and seriously, someone tell that guy to switch to decaf) through the whole Patriots' contest, despite the fact that the matchup was not favorable in many ways, and I was truly surprised and hurt when the first half ended with the score 10-0, Denver.
I was clutching at my scalp by the time it was 17-0. And let's not even talk about when Matt Light got hurt fucking again.
But then they marched 80 yards on 10 plays for a perfect, crisp touchdown, and I was psyched up again. Here we go. Comeback time.
And then, on the next series, with the clock ever-dwindling, a freaking, flying, fucking goddamned three-and-out.
Words do not describe the frustration. The game was all but over at that point--the Patriots needed two more scores to tie the game up, and they probably would only get one more chance.
Tom Brady, as he had all night, came stalking off the field, tearing at the chin straps on his helmet and yelling. All night he had not looked just angry but sullen; shades of 2002 were in his face. I got mad at him, too. Don't give up. Stop pouting. Rally the troops. Be Tom Brady. Let's go.
The defense managed to get another stop, and then, after starting from their own 20, the Patriots drove all the way down to the Denver 20.
Even if it wouldn't have tied the score, I wanted that touchdown. I needed that touchdown. At least to make it dignified. At least to make it feel like the Patriots didn't so much get their asses kicked as run out of time. And there were still a little under 2 minutes left on the clock, and who knew what could happen?
Yeah, well, then there was an incomplete pass, and ANOTHER drive died on fourth down. Ball game.
Not only was it infuriating on its face, but a play like that always makes me feel mocked by my own team even for hoping. It's a rotten, terrible, decaying feeling. It makes me want to lay down on the floor and kick and scream like a three-year-old. I guess I feel entitled--if the Red Sox have taken it up the tailpipe this year, the Patriots are going to pick up their slack as always, right...? When they don't, I guess I feel doubly fucked.
That and those weird-ass Chinese balloon animals at halftime. That was just insult to injury.
*quote from Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times