Foxborough: Patriots, South Shore Locals Not Pressing Panic Button Yet

It has been nearly a week since the New England Patriots kicked off their 2017 campaign. And yet, the wounds left behind from their opening banner night, during which they suffered a shocking 42-27 defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs still remain behind.

Although team losses, of any sort, have been hard to come by however, that does not necessarily mean the Patriots and their South Shore fans have not seen early defeat in seasons past. The last three times the Patriots dropped their season openers include a 31-0 loss to Buffalo in 2003, and a 33-20 loss to Miami in 2014 before last Thursday. But there’s a somewhat important reason why the team and locals are refusing to enter a wide state of panic.

The last three times the franchise lost their opener, they capped the season atop the world: as Super Bowl Champions, a reason one fan, Joe from Plymouth, is not too nervous.

“I’m not too worried,” he said. “Kansas City showed their resilience in all aspects of the game. Our coaching always finds a way to work out any kink, whether its offense or defense.”

Now the Patriots turn their eyes to this upcoming Sunday, as they prepare to face-off with a team they are very familiar with, the New Orleans Saints.

Like New England, the Saints are fresh off a loss to begin 2017 as well, dropping their Monday Night Football contest with Minnesota, 29-19. But facing a coach in Sean Payton, and All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees to name a few, head coach Bill Belichick knows his team can’t sleep on an ever-potent opposing offense.

“I think Sean (Payton) has done a great job obviously through the years,” Belichick said. “One of the top coaches in the league. I have a ton of respect for him. Offensively its a great team. They do everything well. Good quarterback, good skilled players, good running backs, good receivers, good tight ends, good offensive line. They have a lot of explosive weapons, with a great scheme. That’s why they lead the league in offense every year.”

The last time New England faced New Orleans came back on October 13th, 2013, when Tom Brady connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with five seconds remaining to give the Patriots a thrilling 30-27 victory. The night would go on to become one of the most historic in local sports history. A few hours later, with the bases loaded and his team trailing 5-1 against the Detroit Tigers, David Ortiz would launch a game-tying grand slam into the right-field bullpen, before ultimately propelling the Red Sox to a 2013 World Series Title.

Absent from Patriots practice Wednesday were wideout Danny Amendola (concussion), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (knee), and defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (knee). Special Teams Captain Matthew Slater was limited (hamstring).

The team is set to begin their long trip to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday. Should they hope to keep up with the Saints offensively, they cannot afford to get off to a slow start. Last week against the Chiefs, New England had four red zone trips in the first half, converting on only 50% of their chances.

“It’s a tough place to play,” Brady said. “It’s a big game. Neither team wants to be 0-2. So we’ve got to figure out how to get a win. Everyone’s just got to get the job done, do whatever you’re asked to do, you got to do it. And that’s what it’s going to take. It’s going to take a big effort from everybody.”




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About Brendan Connelly

Brendan Connelly, a lifetime native of Scituate, comes to WATD via the University of Massachusetts, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. During his time in Amherst, Brendan worked extensively with the University’s Radio Station WMUA 91.1 FM, in their sports department as a Broadcaster and Reporter. He also wrote for the Northampton-based periodical, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, in their Sports Department. Following his graduation in May 2014, Brendan applied at WATD, and was then hired a few weeks later as a Sales Executive. Shortly thereafter, he would gradually work his way into the Sports Department, becoming a weekly host on the Sports Exchange with Bill Wilhelm. One year later, Brendan officially took over the Morning Sports with Rob & Lisa, giving updates on Local High School Sports News Tuesdays through Fridays. Brendan still consistently sells advertising space as well for WATD, and helps Bill Wilhelm’s team at sporting events as a commentator. During his career with WATD, Brendan has had the opportunity to interview the likes of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Zdeno Chara, and many more. Outside the station, Brendan also works as a Sports Writer for the Boston Herald, who hired his services one month following WATD. Brendan has also interned as a broadcaster for the Brockton Rox, which he completed during the summer of 2012.