These are depressing times in the NFL, at least for that part of the NFL that doesn't live in New England. Every year we embark with high hopes that this will finally be the year when Bill Belichick -- good old Darth Hoodie; good old Mumbles McGrumbles -- goes away, no longer to plague us with all that monotonous and infuriating winning. Every year he wins again and makes the rest of the league go away.
And so to last night, when the New England Patriots, on four days rest and playing Keanu Reeves at quarterback, whipped up on the Houston Texans, who, like the Patriots, were 2-0 and coached by one of the many Belichick disciples, Bill O'Brien.
(And, yes, I know the Patriots weren't playing Keanu Reeves at quarterback. They were playing Jacoby Ellsbury, who used to play for the Red Sox. OK, so it was really Jacoby Brissett, of whom approximately .5 percent of America said, "Oh, sure, Jacoby Brissett. I know him.")
The conventional wisdom was that O'Brien, the student, finally had the teacher right where he wanted him. Of course, he didn't.
Of course, the Patriots won 27-0, and of course the rookie Brissett played like he'd started 500 NFL games and was not just someone Belichick found while rummaging around at the bottom of the depth chart. And of course the rest of the country, watching all this, was plunged into deep gloom.
"Jacoby Brissett? What the hell is a Jacoby Brissett? I swear Belichick could find some geezer rocking the day away on his front porch out in Flyspeck, New Hampshire, put a uniform on him and he'd go 22-of-29 for 265 yards and three touchdowns," the rest of the country grumbled.
That this is undoubtedly true, of course, made it all the more annoying. Fifteen years ago today, after all, Belichick's quarterback, Drew Bledsoe got hurt, and out trotted some guy named Tom Brady. Naturally, he went on to become Tom Brady, and the Patriots went on to become the Patriots.
Even more annoying, they went on to become the football equivalent of a Wells Fargo banking executive, swindling the rubes while never having a glove laid on them.
That win over the Texans, for instance?
It pushed the Patriots to 3-0 while Brady sits out four games for getting caught masterminding Deflategate. Does anyone really think they won't be 4-0 when he comes back, thereby getting clean away with it once again?
Of course they will be. Even if they really do have to play Keanu Reeves at quarterback.
Or, you know, that guy in New Hampshire.