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Unhappy Patriots fans quickly changed their tune

I watched the Ravens' 23-20 loss to the Patriots in a bowling alley bar in western Massachusetts, where I had gone to see my nephew play football for Williams College (a 41-17 winner over Middlebury College) the day before.

There were seven big-screen TVs in the bar showing seven different NFL games. Naturally, Ravens-Pats attracted the bulk of the attention, with the two dozen or so patrons gathered at the bar agreeing with each other on the following points throughout the first three quarters:

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a) The Patriots were getting hosed by the officials on nearly every play, because the officials were always out to get the Pats.

b) The Patriots play-calling was so wimpy and vanilla that it was an absolute disgrace to the game of football.

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c) If the Patriots continued to play as badly as they were playing, they would not win another game all season and would be lucky to beat a good high school team -- and then only if the high school team didn't play its starters.

But then the mood changed as the Patriots rallied in the fourth quarter, with quarterback Tom Brady directing scoring drives of 60 and 80 yards to tie the game and send it into overtime.

And by the time New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski hit a 35-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining in OT to win the game, the consensus among the Patriots fans was this:

a) Thankfully, the plucky Pats had overcome the ineptitude of the referees, who STILL had it in for the home team and always would, no question about that.

b) The Patriots play-calling had been daring and innovative throughout the game, as it always is under coach Bill Belichick.

c) The Patriots were just about a lock to go to the Super Bowl and win the darned thing again.

Fans are fans, no matter where you go.

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