Is the New England Patriots' season already in jeopardy? Or is this a familiar stutter-step that Patriots fans will laugh about while their team hoists another Lombardi trophy in February?
The answers will play out over the course of the season, but for now, the Patriots and their fans aren't laughing,
Sunday night's 26-10 loss to the Detroit Lions wasn't an ordinary loss. It was one of the worst in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era.
Consider: Not only did the Patriots finish with just 209 total yards, but 52 of them came on their final, garbage-time drive. So for nearly 58 minutes, the Patriots were thoroughly shut down by a team that looked pedestrian at best in losing its first two games.
And 3-0 Miami is next.
The depths of the Patriots' loss kept ESPN Stats & Information busy putting the game -- and start to the season, including their 31-20 Week 2 loss in Jacksonville -- in the following context:
This is the first time the Patriots have lost back-to-back games by double digits since Dec. 16-22, 2002 against the Jets and Titans. They've played 244 games during that stretch.
The Patriots ran 47 offensive plays Sunday, their fewest since 2010.
The Patriots' point differential of minus-20 is their worst through three games of a season since 1995 (minus-39).
The Patriots have been outscored by 35 points (71-36) since halftime of Week 1.
The Patriots' 16-point loss is their second-largest margin of defeat under Bill Belichick when favored by seven points or more, behind only their infamous 25-point home loss to the Dolphins in 2008 (12.5-point favorite).
It's also tied for their second-largest margin of defeat when favored by at least seven points in the Super Bowl era (since 1966). The Patriots lost to the Falcons by 16 points in 1980 as 8-point favorites.
Tom Brady's 133 passing yards are the fewest of his career in a start in a domed stadium or one with a retractable roof.
It also was Brady's fewest passing yards since 2014 vs. the Bills ...
and his fewest in a road game since 2009, also against the Bills.
Brady had minus-1 passing yard in the first quarter, his fewest in any quarter since 2006 (minus-5 in fourth quarter at Titans).
The Patriots were held without a first down on each of their first three possessions for the third time since Brady became the starter in 2001 (2016 vs. the Broncos and 2003 vs. the Bills).
Kerryon Johnson had 101 rushing yards and became the Lions' first 100-yard rusher since Reggie Bush on Thanksgiving 2013.
The Patriots entered the season with an 84 percent FPI chance to win the AFC East. After Week 1 that fell to 78, and it's now at 68 percent.
It has not been a pretty start to the season for the Patriots.
And to reflect his level of panic, Belichick offered the following after the game: “I don’t think anyone can clinch a playoff spot today. I don’t think anyone is eliminated today.”
On to playing the Dolphins.