These Patriots are not those Patriots

Richard Seymour's not walking through that door, fans. Rodney Harrison's not walking through that door, and Tedy Bruschi is not walking through that door.

This year's New England Patriots can't swaddle themselves in banners or wait for recent ghosts to reappear and save them from their suddenly obvious shortcomings. The players in the locker room will have to get it done on their own.

No wonder Patriots coach Bill Belichick bristled over the summer when Randy Moss and Wes Welker proclaimed this year's offense could be more dominant than it was in 2007.

That was then, and this is now. The Patriots are 7-5, losers of two in a row for the first time since 2006 and three out of four for the first time since 2002. They're one game ahead of the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

"What Bill tries to get across to us is, we need to stop living in the past," Maroney said.

We ain't the '07 team. We ain't the '03 team. We ain't the '01 team. We're the '09 team. We got to play with what we have here and make a name for ourselves and stop living like 'Oh, we're the championship-caliber team.'"

One of the disconcerting trends that has developed for the Patriots has been their inability to score in the final two minutes of a half, illustrating the combination of their offensive and defensive woes.

The Patriots haven't scored inside the final two minutes over their past four games, getting outscored 27-0. The only game they won in that stretch was their blowout of the New York Jets in Week 11.