Vince Wilfork summed up what we Patriots fans witnessed on the field at Gillette Stadium today. The Baltimore Ravens took it to the Patriots on offense, defense, and special teams and thoroughly laid the smack down on what looked like an uninspired team. I saw the same thing in the team Super Bowl Sunday two years ago. I saw right when they came out of the tunnel that day, and I just had the feeling that they weren’t going to win that day.
The first offensive play said it all really. Ray Rice started to the left, then cut back to the right, and hit the hole up the middle for 83 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens ran over the Pats for a total of 234 yards, a good 34 yards more than the ENTIRE Patriots’ offense could muster. The boos could be heard across New England from Foxboro and, according to Tom Brady, “I’d have been booing us too.”
“We got beat up. We didn’t come to play, point blank. We never had a chance from the first play until the last play. They came in and they wanted it more than us, and it showed. What can you do about it? Move on, there’s no film watching now. Everything’s over. You take it in stride. They played a hell of a ballgame. Clearly they showed what they wanted to do is run the ball, and they did. And did it very well. No excuses, we didn’t come to play.”
But this isn’t all on the defense. On the Patriots’ first offensive series, Terrell Suggs got around Matt Light and strip-sacked Tom Brady and recovered his own forced fumble. Does this sound familiar? It should, because it happened Week 4, and I highlighted it (including how to not let it happen again) in my preview article. I have to look at the play again, but it looked like either Kevin Faulk missed chipping Suggs on his way out of the backfield into his pass route, or it was never his assignment to chip Suggs. Either way, same play, same result. The Pats couldn’t run, could barely throw due to the pressure, and made 4 turnovers, all of which were committed by Tom Brady (1 fumble and 3 INT’s). Can’t win that way.
Before I get too deep into this, I want to review as much game film as I can and see where the breakdowns were (as best as one who doesn’t know the play called can), tie the bow, and send this debacle away. The offseason is here, albeit earlier than we would have liked, and there’s plenty of work to do.
The final score was 33 – 14 (for anyone fortunate enough to not have to suffer through that).