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Non-Playoff NFL Team Seasons in Review | New England Patriots

The dynasty is dead. The team that has dominated the NFL for close to two decades is down and out, at least for the time being. The New England Patriots had a rough year. Let’s look back on the uncharacteristic season that was.

Bill Belichick New England Patriots
Credit: Steven Senne/AP Photo

New England Patriots Start a New Chapter

The New England Patriots’ first game without Tom Brady under center in 20 years came against a familiar foe in the Miami Dolphins. Cam Newton led the Patriots in both passing and rushing to help them earn the 21-11 win. New England then made the trek to Seattle for Sunday Night Football against the Seahawks in Week 2. Newton once again led the Patriots in passing and rushing, but his three touchdowns were no match for Russell Wilson’s five. The Pats would drop this game 35-30.

Week 3 turned into Rex Burkhead’s 2020 shining moment. Against the Las Vegas Raiders, Burkhead scored three TDs, leaving fantasy football managers everywhere royally ticked. The New England Patriots won the game 36-20. The following week, New England would have some positive COVID tests. Their game was moved from Sunday to Monday afternoon. Among the positives was Cam Newton. He was forced to miss the game and Brian Hoyer drew the start at quarterback in his place. The Patriots offense had a bad night as neither Hoyer nor Jarrett Stidham could get the offense going which led to a 26-10 loss.

Patriots Change Plans

The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos were supposed to meet in Week 5. Unfortunately, the NFL pushed it back another week due to positive COVID cases so the Patriots ultimately had their bye in Week 5. The week off did not help them any as they would lose to Brandon McManus and the Broncos in Foxborough by the final score of 18-12.

The Patriots next hosted the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers and got absolutely smashed by Jeff Wilson Jr. and the 49ers defense. Wilson Jr. ran for three touchdowns to power the 49ers to a 33-6 win. Would the Patriots bounce back against a team that they have dominated for years in the Buffalo Bills? They did have a chance late, but Cam Newton fumbled on the final drive to seal a 24-21 victory for the Buffalo Bills. This loss dropped the Patriots’ record to 2-5.

New England Patriots Rally the Troops

The New England Patriots tried to get back on track in a Monday night game against the New York Jets. The Jets actually took a lead into the half after scoring 17 points in the second quarter. The Patriots rallied in the fourth and kicked the winning field goal with no time left to win 30-27. New England followed that win up with a 23-17 home upset of the Baltimore Ravens. Surely they could also beat a lowly Houston Texans team to even their record off at 6-6 right? Nope, as super Deshaun Watson showed up and completely took over the game to send the Texans to a 27-20 win.

The New England Patriots then returned home to host the Arizona Cardinals. They escaped with the win after a phantom roughing the passer call moved the Patriots into field goal range so they could kick the game-winner.

Cam Newton New England Patriots
Credit: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

Not Much Fun in the Sun

The New England Patriots would next visit Sofi Stadium for the first time in a matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. They made Justin Herbert and the rest of the Chargers look like a high school team on their way to a 45-0 win. The Patriots stayed in L.A. that week in advance of their matchup against the Rams on Thursday Night Football. It was a very different story than New England’s win over the Chargers. Cam Akers ran all over the Pats defense to help secure the Rams a 24-3 victory.

The Patriots then went down to South Beach to face the Dolphins with their season on the line. They kept it close for most of the game. Rookie Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa ran for a late touchdown to ice it and officially end the playoff chances for the New England Patriots.

New England Patriots Try to End Season on High Note

The Patriots played host to the Bills in the Monday Night Football finale. That’s about all the good that came from this game. The Bills decimated the short-handed New England defense to get the 38-9 win. The Patriots then hosted the Jets in the last game of the season for both teams. Sam Darnold did his best to upset the Patriots, but Cam Newton’s three touchdowns sealed a season-ending win.

New England Patriots Have Questions to Answer

Where do the Patriots go from here? They have said that Cam Newton will not be back next year, which means that the quarterback spot is open. The Patriots have the 15th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. They could potentially take a QB at this spot. Next year they should be better, as they will also get back the eight players who opted out of this season. The future isn’t as dark as it may seem for this team.

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