Ladies and Gentleman, the Patriots are not a very good team right now. Heading into Miami the defending Super Bowl Champions needed a victory to seal up the one seed in the AFC playoffs. After a first half that had Tom Brady complete just four of five passes for 20 yards and score only three points, the Patriots came out and scored a touchdown on the first drive of the second half. With the score tied 10-10 the Patriots couldn’t do squat the rest of the game. After tying the score, the Patriots offense punted on their next five possessions, and then went four and out on the final possession, all while gaining 38 yards.
The Patriots who started the season at 10-0, finished the season 12-4. The two victories were against the worst team in the NFL the Titans, and the 9-7 Houston Texans. The Pats were uncharacteristically bad after Thanksgiving. Blame the injuries if you want, but the real blame is on an offensive coaching staff that failed its team. The Patriots coaching staff has always put their team in the best position to win. But in losing four of their last six there has been cause for concern. The Patriots held a 14 point lead on the Broncos and lost. There of course was the muffed punt, but the Patriots continued to try and throw to win. The Patriots had a 14 point lead against the Eagles, and then tried a pooch kick and lost. They lost back to back games against division rivals to end the game. Both games the Patriots offense was non existent. Don’t blame the injuries, blame the lack of a game plan. The Patriots are a complete mess on offense right now. They can’t run, they can’t block, they can’t stay on the field and they can’t score.
The Pats can still win it all. They will need to play a lot better and coach a lot better. Getting Julien Edelman back will help immensely. His presence will hopefully allow Brady to get the ball out quicker. However it is awfully hard to just pick up where Edelman left off. Being out for eight weeks there is bound to be rust. The Patriots will need to rely on defense to get to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots decided to attempt to run the ball. In the first half they carried the ball 21 time for 62 yards. Not great numbers, especially against the 30th ranked rush defense. The idea was to see what the Patriots had in Steven Jackson. Jackson ran hard just not for huge yards. He did show the ability to gain yards after contact.
Offensive play calling. In the first half the Patriots were ultra conservative. Allowing Brady to throw the ball just five times. Three times on third and long they handed off.In the second half, after tying the game 10-10 they went deep pass crazy, plays that do not work for the Patriots. Josh McDaniels lacks the ability to call a game when his passing game isnt working. The balance was there just in an odd way. McDaniels is too predictable. After almost every incomplete pass on first down, the Patriots ran a draw, setting up third and long. The Patriots 4/14 on third down. Just terrible numbers.
The Patriots have their work cut out for them. It seems all they wanted was to gain the bye. Now they have two weeks to get healthy and attempt a run to the championship. Lucky for the Pats, they have advanced to the Super Bowl and won it twice as the two seed in 2001 and 2004.