(the Hooded Casanova had no answers for the Pseudo Snake or Javon Walker the other evening)

Calling the Patriots, “just another mediocre group that can’t score,”, the Providence Journal’s Bill Reynolds surveys the wreckage of New England’s lopsided Sunday night loss to the Broncos and wonders if “you can’t keep losing quality players and quality coaches without eventually paying some price, however great an organization is?”

The Patriots’ mystique, and the inherent message is that it almost doesn’t matter who you lose off the team, because someone else can get plugged in and the beat still goes on, uninterrupted. So guys come and guys go, but the team rolls on. Charlie Weis goes. Romeo Crennell goes. Eric Mangini goes. But the team rolls on.

That’s always been the unofficial line, anyway. Lawyer Milloy goes. Damien Woody goes. Ted Johnson goes. Willie McGinest goes. David Givens goes. Adam Vinatieri goes. Deion Branch goes. Other guys get plugged in. Nothing changes.

Until, of course, it does.

Until the Broncos come in to Gillette Stadium, in what was billed as a big revenge game, and beat the Patriots.

Until you look at the Pats and they seem somewhat diminished.

At least they were Sunday night.

And it’s more than that the Broncos beat them on two big pass plays. Or that for the second straight game they had a field goal blocked, a sign of a team out of sync. It’s more than the fact that they had only 50 yards on the ground, or gave up too many third-down plays to the Broncos, sure signs of a struggling team. It’s even more than the fact that Brady had to throw 55 times, a sure sign of trouble. Or that the only time he really was able to move the team was in the no-huddle drive in the fourth quarter against a prevent defense.

It’s that they seemed decidedly ordinary.

Floating, then refuting a conspiracy theory even Richard Belzer would find farfetched, Pro Football Talk raises the possibility the NFL leaned on the Texans to pass on Reggie Bush in last June’s draft.  The league’s motivation being the touchy-feely-good story that took place in New Orleans last night, and what Reggie Bush might mean to the Saints franchise long-term. In return, outgoing Texans GM Charley Casserly would find himself with a cushy NFL job.

Anyhow, PFT says there’s nothing to it —- they doubt Casserly could keep his mouth shut about such a secret deal, and can’t understand why Houston wouldn’t have traded down if such a plan was in place.  Some of us can’t understand why they didn’t trade down anyway if there was no intent to take the draft’s most glittering prize.

It was explained on ESPN today that Bush has done so many wonderful things for the N.O. community (ie. having his advisors lean on sponsors for relief donations), that any accusations of wrongdoing while at USC have received scant attention locally. Perhaps Mario Williams should make a donation or two, just to be on the safe side.