It took an elite defense to expose the flaws in the Patriots not-so-elite offense--a weakness that I (and many others) thought could be overcome by the sheer strength of the Belichick Way. Well, maybe not.
Tom Brady looked out of sync and extremely uncomfortable with his ability to compensate for a stalled running attack with his less than stellar receiving corps. There are just so many times you can go the well with Troy Brown and Ben Watson before the really good defenses (like Denver's) will figure it out and frustrate you at every turn. On Sunday night, in an embarrassing 17-7 loss to the Broncos, frustration was the watchword for your three-time champion New England Patriots.
It didn't help that two of the options that might have helped (Chad Jackson and Corey Dillon) were out of commission for most of the game. When your short-handed offense becomes further short-handed, you will likely end up on the short end of the stick. Bingo.
And, friends, it doesn't get any easier--as the Pats parachute into Cincinnati to face a feisty 3-0 Bengal squad. Fasten your seatbelts, 2006-7 might just be a bumpier ride than we had previously suspected.