It has been an uncharacteristically slow start to the 2020 season for the New England Patriots. That continued into Week 6 action as the Patriots fell at home to the Denver Broncos in disappointing fashion. The defeat also put New England in a position they have been in quite some time under head coach Bill Belichick.
Patriots stumble to home loss against the Broncos
Following plenty of internal difficulties over the last several days concerning COVID-19, the Patriots looked to get back on track in Week 6.
New England had star quarterback Cam Newton in the fold after missing time due to his recent bout with the virus. It wasn’t a triumphant return for Newton as he struggled to pass the ball, completing 17-of-25 passes for 157 yards with a pair of interceptions, and was sacked four times.
Newton did rack up 76 rushing yards and a touchdown to guide their depleted backfield. The Patriots were in shambles offensively with 288 total yards with 14 first downs and committed three turnovers. Despite all that, New England had the chance to win the game in the final two minutes but turned it over on downs with 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
It may have been just a singular loss, but it was one that has pushed Bill Belichick and the Patriots into unfamiliar territory.
Patriots’ impressive record under Bill Belichick snapped
It has been a tough start to the 2020 season for the Patriots that has put them in unfamiliar territory.
The back-to-back losses to the Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs have knocked them down to a 2-3 record through the first five games. It also marked the first time since November 2002 that New England has held an under .500 record in October.
It may be a disappointing start to the 2020 campaign, but it further underlines the incredible stability that the Patriots have had under Bill Belichick. New England has been the gold standard for success over the last two decades, and that record demonstrates that to another degree.
The Chiefs look to be the lone team to have the formula for sustained success with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid heading the charge. However, it shows the dominance that the Patriots have had with Belichick at the helm.
Patriots remaining optimistic through tough stretch
Following opening the season with a 2-1 record, things have fallen off the hinges a bit for the Patriots.
Much of which has seen outside factors weigh heavily into the equation. The team has been hit quite hard by COVID-19, with several players dealing with the illness. It saw Cam Newton miss Week 4 action against the Chiefs, which he didn’t return to the team until this past Thursday.
It has been much more beyond Newton as star cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive for the virus a few days after him. Defensive tackle Byron Cowart also contracted the illness two days before the Week 5 matchup against the Broncos that forced the NFL to push it back to this week.
These issues have continued to pile up as the team closed their practice facility for three days to begin the week. They held their lone practice on Thursday before canceling Friday’s work due to reserve offensive lineman James Ferentz testing positive. That has put Ferentz alongside running back Sony Michel, starting right guard Shaq Mason, and reserve defensive end Derek Rivers on the reserve COVID-19 list.
All of these matters have further compounded the situation for the Patriots will several notable players sidelined. It’s a tough stretch that New England is working through, but there remains much optimism around the organization to bounce back.