Patriots

Bedard: Bill Belichick made this bed for the Patriots, now he gets to fix it

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I feel your pain.

The Patriots, by virtue of their unthreatening 22-12 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday, will be postseason wallflowers instead of participants for the first time since 2008. They also won't have a record above .500 for the first time since 2000.

The Bills have won the AFC East. The Dolphins right now are in the postseason. Even the frigging Jets on Sunday beat a Rams team that dismantled the Patriots in the same stadium 10 days ago, 24-3.

And Tom Brady led the Bucs to their ninth win by coming back from 17 points down twice against a Falcons team his heroics helped defeat in Super Bowl LI, on the same field the Brady-led Patriots defeated the Rams in Super Bowl LIII before New England's downward trajectory ensued.

Merry Freaking Christmas, New England!

If you live and die with the local gridiron gods, then this will not be a very jolly holiday season. The only thing that will rival the saltiness of New England Patriots fans this week will be the docks in New Bedford.

"To win these games, we've got to do a better job," said Belichick. "I've got to do a better job and collectively as a staff and a team, we've got to perform better than this."

It sucks. I'm not going to disavow you of that. You probably view Bill Belichick and Cam Newton as some combination of Ebenezer Scrooge and The Grinch. I get it. Especially if you've known little out of this 20-year run of success (and, really, it goes back to 1996), you're going to be angry and want to blame somebody, or multiple somebodies.

Newton will take the brunt of it, because he's the new guy and QB1, but that's really not fair considering no offseason and weapons at receiver and tight end that wouldn't amount to No. 2s anywhere else. Brady and the Patriots struggled most of last season with a similar group as well.

"Obviously, we know what the standard is around here," Newton said.

Really, if you want to blame someone, you have to look at Belichick. He's the king of football at One Patriot Place, he made his bed and he has to lay in it.

But I wouldn't linger on that too long, either. Belichick's earned a mulligan 20 times over. No one's perfect. No one is always right, even arguably the best football mind ever.

We're on to 2021, and that's what this is really about.

Belichick