Red Sox and Patriots weren’t only bad in 2020, they were tough to watch

It’s becoming a tired cliche at this point.
Blaming anything that ranges from downright disastrous to mildly frustrating on the calendar year 2020, a 366-day slog that punches you in the stomach over and over, is the thing to do.
But for Red Sox and Patriots fans, 2020 truly was the worst.
The Patriots fell to 6-8 with an ugly loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. With the defeat, the Pats ensured they won’t be dancing this postseason, not even during a year in which 14 teams will get a chance to participate.
It’s the first time both the Pats and the Red Sox failed to make the playoffs since 2002. But even in ’02 the Sox won 93 games and the Pats went 9-7, leaving both teams hopeful for a future that would bring four World Series crowns and five Super Bowl titles in the next 16 years.
Looking back, it’s hard to be upset about 2002.
Though it could still be avoided this year, you’d have to go back to 1993 to find the last time the Sox and Pats both had losing records.
It was Bill Parcells’ first year coaching the Patriots and Drew Bledsoe had a quarterback rating of 65 while his leading receiver was tight end Ben Coates, who averaged 41 yards a game. The Pats had a negative-48 point differential, won just five games and didn’t win a playoff game for three more years after that.
Meanwhile, Butch Hobson’s Red Sox suffered an ugly season from their ace, Roger Clemens (11-14, 4.46 ERA), and went 15-28 down the stretch to secure a losing season. They didn’t win a playoff series for another six years.
That feeling of dread has finally made its way back to New England, where both teams are less than a year removed from letting their best players walk (happy holidays to you, Tom Brady and Mookie Betts), the Patriots have no quarterback and the Red Sox’ ace is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
But if there’s one silver lining as we close the book on Boston sports in 2020, it’s that those of you who let the stink of these teams saturate your eyeballs for 60 games on the diamond and 16 games on the gridiron, you earned your stripes.
Never let someone call you a bandwagon fan again. You suffered through two of the ugliest, most boring seasons in recent memory.
In case you forgot what happened in July, August and September, let’s review.
The Red Sox went into the season with Chris Sale on the shelf, Betts in Los Angeles and a pitching staff largely made up of guys who had been released, waived, designated or traded for nothing (literally). They made you suffer with a lineup that was more than formidable but ran out of gas after two weeks, when it was clear that no amount of offense would make up for pitchers who were required by rule to face three batters, but required a rabbit’s foot in their back pocket just to retire one.
The openers couldn’t open, the closers couldn’t close and the middle relievers were made up of tomorrow’s openers and yesterday’s closers.
The games lasted forever but never went anywhere. The team was putrid. And even the players seemed to know it.
Then the leaves turned from green to yellow and Cam Newton arrived with suits, hats and scarves that featured colors we didn’t even know existed.
On a budget contract, the last-resort quarterback quickly became the most interesting man in New England. And just as quickly became the biggest eyesore.
Within five weeks Newton had described his own play as “trash.”
Who could forget the most simply designed play, a short screen pass to his right that Newton hand-delivered to a Rams linebacker for a 79-yard pick-six? Or when Newton tried extending a run for a couple of meaningless yards against the Dolphins, only to drop the football and watch the Fish return it for a TD (which was fortunately negated due to an illegal touch by an out-of-bounds teammate)?
Without a real quarterback or any speedy skill players, the Pats tried focusing on the running game. The results? A team that has averaged 3:02 per possession, fourth-longest average possession time in the NFL, but scored just 1.94 points per possession, 24th-worst.
The Patriots move slow and accomplish little.
They’ve averaged 185 passing yards per game, or the same number of yards as the New York Giants, who have used Daniel Jones and Colt McCoy behind center. It’s 17 more passing yards than the bottom-feeding New York Jets and ghostbuster Sam Darnold, and 20 yards less than the Denver Broncos, who have used four different starting quarterbacks, including practice squad wideout Kendall Hinton, who was 1-for-9 for 13 yards and two interceptions in his only start.
Good riddance to the 2020 Red Sox and Patriots. They didn’t make it easy to watch.

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