EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 18, 2012

Reflecting on silver lining of Pats painful loss

Pats toughness still intact after loss

(Continued)

8. Lloyd is alive.

While it took three and a half months, Brandon Lloyd, the Patriots shifty wide receiver, finally had a breakout game. He became the go-to receiver with Welker being doubled and Aaron Hernandez getting roughed up. His 190 receiving yards (10 receptions) was more than any back-to-back games he played as a Patriot. He had two nice receptions on go-routes down the sidelines, which means he could be finally stretching the field (keeping safeties back deep) and opening passing lanes up to Welker, Hernandez and Gronk. His hands have not been a problem. His getting open deep has.

9. Wakeup call.

When you win as often (seven straight) and as convincingly (four of those wins by three touchdowns or more), human instincts can take over, which means you believe you are slightly greater than you really are. That might be the case here. The Patriots were beaten in every aspect of the game and could pay a big price. But the most important thing is for this team to forget about records and stats, and focus on beating the next opponent. After laying an egg after a some recent first-round byes, there is nothing wrong with having to do it the hard way.

10. Pats are tough.

The biggest issue with losing on Sunday night wasn’t the actual “L,” but the ramifications. The Patriots road is not a yellow brick road any more. But from Day 1 this season, the Patriots have been tougher on both sides of the ball than they’ve been since probably their last Super Bowl champion from the 2004 season. Well, that toughness is still intact after the loss. Don’t discount this characteristic. Talent isn’t enough in January. Toughness is every bit as important.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.

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