The Patriots inexcusably lost to the Cardinals, 20-18, Sunday, and it didn’t happen because of play calling, the referees, the offensive line, or special teams (though the latter certainly didn’t help).
It happened because of the offense’s mind-numbing lack of execution on third down that brought back memories of the final quarter and a half of the Super Bowl. The Cardinals tried time and time again to give the Patriots the game, but the Patriots would have none of it.
And it’s because they’re discombobulated on offense. Tom Brady is trying to get used to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels again. Brady is trying to get comfortable with receiver Brandon Lloyd while being force-fed Julian Edelman. And a cobbled-together line is trying to gain a rhythm that is lacking after not playing together for any of training camp.
The offense is a work in progress, but it will get there — as soon as they start converting on third downs. They were just 5 of 15 (33 percent), the first time they have been below 40 percent since last Nov. 21 against the Chiefs, which concluded a four-week stretch in the 30 percent range.