In the end, it just wasn’t meant to be for the New England Patriots as their quest to repeat as Super Bowl Champions ended Sunday evening in Denver. It was just not the Patriots day. They were out played by the Broncos. Their normally clutch players did not come through. Finally, they were out coached.
The Pats put up a valiant effort that came up a two-point conversion shy of tying the game and possibly forcing overtime. Alas, the game was just another that was just out of reach for Tom Brady and his team in their drive for five. From the onset of the game, this just wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps the Patriots outsmarted themselves. It started with the opening coin toss, the Patriots won and elected to receive, something not seen around these parts in a very long time. Perhaps the Patriots wanted to score early and put the Broncos on the defensive. Instead, the ploy failed and before most people had settled in the Patriots were down 7-0.
The Patriots fought back and scored a touchdown, but normally reliable kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point. The miss set up the need for a two-point conversion to tie the game at the end. From there on out the Patriots offense just couldn’t get going. After a Tom Brady interception, the Broncos scored to make it 14-6 and it was just out of reach for the Patriots all game long.
Credit is due to the Patriots defense who completely came to play and kept the Patriots pathetic offense in the game. The Patriots all year long have been playing with fire being a finesse offensive team. The Patriots lack of being able to run the ball was one of the biggest reason the offense could get nothing going. So many in Patriots nation think that all you need is to throw the ball and win. That works in the regular season, but not on the road against an aggressive defense. The Patriots were very easy to defend today. Just ask Peyton Manning what it’s like to go up against a physical defense on the road in the AFC championship game with a one-dimensional offense. You lose every time. The Broncos were just the tougher team today.
The Patriots will now go into the offseason with more questions than answers on offense. What will become of wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell? Is the offensive line as bad as it looked, or was the game plan to blame? The Patriots have holes on the offensive line, and it is clear that no matter how good Tom Brady is, he needs help. The Patriots first and foremost need a running game. Yes, ladies and gentleman you still need to be balanced to win. The Pats need an outside receiver to help Julian Edelman.
Luckily for the Patriots, it looks like the defense is championship caliber. The off-season now begins, and the Patriots will need to build a stronger offensive core around an aging Tom Brady. As the old saying goes, it’s ONTO 2016.