Following a decisive 34-13 thumping of the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, the New England Patriots looked set to put it on cruise control.
A revamped defense. Two up-and-coming tight ends re-signed to long-term contracts. The arrival of a top-flight wide receiver. The emergence of a true rushing threat.
This was quickly shaping up to be the year that Bill Belichick decided he was tired of leading the rest of the league to believe he was, in fact, human. He would surely regain his immortality as the King of the NFL landscape come February.
Then the Arizona Cardinals came into town.
Riding the momentum of backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, the Cardinals escaped Foxboro with a stunning 20-18 victory.
A late fumble recovery by Vince Wilfork gave the Patriots a heartbeat. However, a botched Stephen Gostkowski 42-yard field goal quickly took it away.
The defeat marked the first time the Patriots dropped a home opener at Gillette Stadium in 11 openers since the team moved there in 2002.
While many in Foxboro rushed to sound the alarm, allow me to provide you with some food for thought.
Here are 5 takeaways from Sunday's loss.