Nothing was going to save lots of the Patriots’ 2023 season, but when Mac Jones hadn’t thrown off his again foot, put a little bit bit extra velocity on the ball, and lofted his move 5 yards deeper on his last passing try of Week 10 earlier than getting benched, then no less than the staff may have seemed again on their journey to Frankfurt, Germany with fondness.
Alas, Jones’ red-zone, fourth-quarter goal to tight finish Mike Gesicki was intercepted by security Julian Blackmon, setting off what needs to be a really fascinating two weeks in Foxboro with a bye earlier than their Week 12 matchup with the Giants.
Jones sat for backup Bailey Zappe in a two-minute drill whereas trailing 10-6. Zappe threw his personal ugly interception right into a crowd of three Colts defenders whereas focusing on 5-foot-8 rookie slot receiver Demario Douglas after a pretend spike with no strain bearing down and has achieved completely nothing to earn the Patriots’ beginning quarterback job in observe or three fill-in-game conditions, performing even worse than Jones. The Patriots may nonetheless flip to Will Grier or observe squad quarterback/extensive receiver Malik Cunningham as they play out the string over what could possibly be Bill Belichick’s last seven video games as head coach.
But earlier than the brutal loss to a first-year head coach and quarterback Gardner Minshew, Frankfurt was an amazing host metropolis of their first sequence of NFL video games.
Here are our last ideas on Frankfurt, soccer or in any other case.
- The in-stadium vidoe hosts, which included temporary Patriots defensive deal with Markus Kuhn, polled the group in-game, asking the place they had been from and who they had been cheering for. Based on crowd noise alone, the group was primarily German Patriots followers. But there was a vocal contingent of American followers, and supporters from different European nations. All 32 groups gave the impression to be represented by followers in jerseys. Patriots followers made up the bulk, however the variety of Seahawks jerseys in and across the stadium was noticeable.
- During pre-game introductions, the Colts had been booed vociferously whereas the Patriots obtained loud cheers. Not solely did it really feel like a house sport for the Patriots, it was in all probability the staff’s most supportive crowd all season. Fans had been enthusiastic and appreciative to observe their favourite staff for your entire sport, however crowd quantity understandably dwindled as the 2 groups swapped 12 straight drives with out scoring.
- German followers like to sing. One of the best moments of the sport, regardless of how you are feeling in regards to the track as Red Sox followers, was when the group saved singing “Sweet Caroline” after a break whereas the Colts offense was nonetheless on the sector. Bill Belichick needed to like the group’s singalong to Bon Jovi. And the Frankfurt followers actually picked up close to the top of the sport when the DJ performed “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver.
- Frankfurt Stadium is far smaller than most NFL stadiums with a capability of 48,000. The press field was outside within the higher deck close to the 50-yard line. Temperatures had been within the 40s, a lot of the press corps wore jackets and winter hats whereas working. It was an incredible atmosphere to soak up the group.
- As a first-time customer of Frankfurt, I anticipated extra historical past within the metropolis. But virtually your entire space needed to be rebuilt after World War II. Patriots gamers had been noticed on Saturday visiting Romerberg Square — which has conventional German structure — some with relations. The Patriots didn’t have a lot time to waste on Friday between arriving at 6 a.m. for conferences and observe, however the staff did get a bit of time on Saturday afternoon to see the sights.
- The Patriots had been very impressed with their makeshift facility the place the German nationwide soccer staff practices on the DFB Campus.
- Frankfurt felt rather a lot like an American metropolis. There are massive skyscrapers downtown the place there’s a heavy banking presence.
- The metropolis felt empty when reporters and the staff had been arriving on Friday, but it surely was jam-packed on Saturday and Sunday. German pubs had been a tricky seat all weekend, however the bratwurst, pork knuckle and schnitzel had been well worth the wait.
- Patriots gamers had been dissatisfied by Sunday’s loss however nonetheless spoke extremely of their expertise in Germany. It will likely be fascinating to see when the Patriots return to Europe. They do play the Jaguars on the highway subsequent season. That could possibly be a chance to go to London. They additionally will play 9 dwelling video games once more in 2025, in order that could possibly be one other probability to return to Germany, whether or not that’s in Frankfurt or one other metropolis. Frankfurt was nice, however it might be good to get to see how one other metropolis may evaluate as hosts.
- Former Patriots offensive deal with Sebastian Vollmer is well the most important NFL legend within the nation. He obtained the most important ovation from the group. There was a ballot run throughout a German broadcast of the Chargers-Lions sport on Sunday, and Vollmer received with practically 50% of the vote over different gamers like Kuhn. Bjorn Werner and Amon-Ra St. Brown, who was born in Germany however grew up within the United States.
- Former Patriots gamers Rob Ninkovich, Vince Wilfork, Malcolm Butler and Jason McCourty, who was the sport’s colour commentator, patrolled the sidelines earlier than the sport.
- There had been loads of constructive performances for the Patriots earlier than Jones and Zappe threw the sport away on the finish. Running backs Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott and extensive receiver Demario Douglas had been offensive stars. Linebacker Jahlani Tavai continued his playmaking methods with a tip that led to an interception for cornerback Myles Bryant.
- It wasn’t a serious shock to see Jack Jones lower after he spent many of the first quarter sitting on the Patriots’ bench in a heavy cape whereas the remainder of the defensive reserves watched the motion from the sideline.