Overperformed, but only slightly. I never expected a rookie QB, before the season, to march this roster through the playoffs. Once they got there, I went with my heart and hoped for the best. With that said, before the season, I thought there were enough big FA signings to keep it interesting and maybe help mask some of the growing pains of a young QB.
I would have probably guessed 9-8 or 10-7 and missing the playoffs. They indeed went 10-7 and somewhat comfortably got in, which IMO is slightly surpassing my expectations.
I do expect more speed on defense (particularly LB) and a stud, “we’re-not-fucking-around-anymore” #1 WR this off-season. If that happens, and Jonnu can double his meager production this year, and Henry and Mac can improve even a tiny bit, we’ll be talking about a real contender in 2022.
One thing I want to see from Mac early in 2022: a little more zip on his passes and less emotional outbursts (which were often directed at himself) on the field. I want to see him shake off bad drives and push passes a little faster and a little more down field next season.
I do know this: if the Patriots do not go all-in on a WR1 next year and they continue to struggle to open and stretch the field, and then they miss the playoffs or exit early, it’s going to start getting really ugly for Bill. I think a lot of us aren’t there, but next year is a real “show me” year for Bill. The people who were there this year were way too premature (you expect big stuff with a rookie QB? Really?); but after next year, the noise will start getting a lot louder.