Down four points, on their own 20-yard line and one time out. If you would have told any Patriots fans that would be the scenario in Super Bowl XLVI they would take that ten times out of ten and except to win those games I’d say 9-out-of-10 times. Tom Brady and the Patriots just couldn’t get it done Sunday night in Indianopolis.
With tight-end and Brady’s favorite target Rob Gronkowski not playing at 100 percent due to an ankle injury, the Patriots needed other wide receivers/tight ends to pick up the slack and that didn’t happen. Gronkowski finished with only two catches for 26 yards and was limited in the number of plays he was on the field for. He is usually on the field for every Patriots offensive snap.
Brady really didn’t play all that bad. He finished 27-41 for 276 with two touchdowns and one interception, and the interception really didn’t hurt him. He led the team to two of their best drives of the season in the drive to end the first half and to open the second half giving the Patriots a 17-9 lead at the time, but after that Brady and the offense really couldn’t get anything going. Brady went 8-17 after the opening drive of the second half, but he fell victim to dropped passes from his usually dependable wide receivers.
The biggest drop of them all came with just over four minutes remaining on a 2nd and 11 play when Brady dropped back and had wide receiver Wes Welker open around the 30 yard line, but Welker could not reel in Brady’s pass resulting in an incomplete pass and a 3rd and 11 and eventually a Zoltan Mesko punt giving the ball to the Giants for the eventual game-winning score. If Welker could have caught the pass the Patriots would have been in field goal range, and been able to run down the clock considering the Giants only had one time out at the time.
The Patriots needed to have one of their wide receivers step up and help their quarterback out. Aaron Hernandez picked up the slack for his fellow tight end finishing with eight catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots really needed Deion Branch or Chad Ochocinco to step up and play a bigger role than they have all season. Branch dropped a few Brady passes and finished with just three catches. Ochocinco caught one pass for 26 yards.
While Brady struggled after the first drive of the second half, he can only do so much. He needed his receivers to step up and make plays for the team. The defense only gave up 21 points, and if you would have said before the game that the defense would give up just 21 points, you would have expected the Patriots to come out on top.
This loss was on the Patriots offense, specifically the veteran wide receivers for not picking their games up in one of the biggest games of their lives.