If there's one thing besides winning that we've grown obnoxiously used to in New England in the 21st century, it's setting records. Which is to say, pretty much one guy breaking records. But the normal, garden-variety kind. Passing records. Playoff passing records. Super Bowl passing records. Comebacks. That sort of thing.
So it follows logically that, since we're living in a surreal timeline where everything is playing out like a peyote-induced sweat lodge fever dream, that the 2020 Patriots couldn't win a simple game against a simple winless team in November without hitting some bizarre milestones. Doing things the team has rarely done, never done, and even things that have never been seen in league history. And it's worth a rundown in case we never see the likes of this again, so our future holographic selves can tell our great grandchildren all about this day.
I'll try to take them in some sort of organized fashion. But my brain is so bent from reading these, I'm totally prepared to fail on that.
Let's start with the hero of the night. I mentioned before in the Knee Jerk Reactions that with his 12 catches for 169 yard, Jakobi Meyers became just the fourth Patriots receiver in the 60 year history of the team to hit those totals. I don't know if that's the fewest by any franchise, but it wouldn't surprise me if is. What's even harder to process, and speaks to the Pats lack of a top-tier receiver in recent years, is this nugget:
And this, when we set the bar even lower:
I'm fine with an institutional philosophy on spreading the ball around and not relying on one superstar target because the tend to be overpaid. But going five years with only two receivers going over 150 yards and more than two seasons with just three guys cracking 100 is unthinkable. Especially given the team has had double digit wins in each of those seasons and won a Super Bowl.
And he did something Gronk never did. That few Patriots ever have:
And just to sort of close this wide receiver loop, let's make the obvious comparison between Meyers and his fellow Rookie Class of 2019 wideout:
Before you ask the obvious question, here are their playing time numbers so far:
Meyers: 207 total snaps
Harry: 278 total snaps
Draw your own conclusions.
Then there's what Cam Newton did with Meyers and his other WRs, which is a first:
I'm not about to assume this will keep up. Or that they don't need help at the position from Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry and Isaiah Ford. But if they could somehow continue to be productive with the UDFA Gang, wide receiver salaries are going to plummet worldwide.
If you think Newton looked better physically than he has since before he caught the 'Rona, your lyin' eyes are not deceiving you. His throwing has improved.
Then there's the comeback itself. Which is not as common in Cam Newton's career as you'd think for a guy with his resume:
I know double digit 4th quarter leads don't just overcome themselves. But I don't know what's more remarkable, this one or the fact he was just 1-for-39 before last night given what he had to work with. Actually what is most impressive is Schefter posted this at 4:54 a.m. His records will never be broken.
Then there's the very end of the game, which was historic from a Patriots-centric perspective:
That's something to be grateful for when you bow your socially-distanced head at your limited-attendance dinner this Thanksgiving. Folk just turned 36. He was limited in practice and questionable for this game. Was unemployed in the middle of last season. And just did something that's never been done in six decades. And a game like this might never happen again. Let's hope the wins come more frequently and are a hell of a lot easier than this one.