In a follow-up column now posted on ESPNBoston.com, the Patriots' 34-10 loss to the Lions is examined in further detail, noting the performance was a flashback to some of the team's most painful losses in recent memory.
Although it was of the preseason variety, the game had shades of Super Bowl XLII, when the New York Giants overwhelmed the offensive line with relentless pressure. One could see a bit of last year's playoff loss to the New York Jets, as well as the 2009 playoff setback to the Baltimore Ravens. Ditto for the 2011 regular-season blowout in Cleveland.
In each of those games, the opponent found a way to neutralize what the Patriots do best, knocking a potent passing game off its rhythm with an aggressive rush that made life uncomfortable for quarterback Tom Brady.
Not every team will have such success -- the first two preseason games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the most recent evidence of that -- but in the aftermath of the Lions' effective approach one question comes to mind: When opponents paralyze the passing attack, do the Patriots have what it takes to reinvent themselves on the fly?
To read the full column, click here.