Here we are again, the day after a postseason Pats loss wondering what went wrong in what looked to be a Super Bowl run. Gone are the days of the invincible Brady and company in the postseason. Since starting 10-0 in the postseason Brady has gone 7-7. When looking at the Pats most recent playoff losses, there is one common thread to them all. The Pats just do not play well. They may look incredibly unstoppable up until a point in the playoffs but then they just flat out play bad.
Looking back on the ’10 divisional loss to the Jets, the Pats came into the game riding high, they were 14-2 and had the number one seed in the AFC. The Jets were a wild card team that barely slipped into the playoffs. Yet, the Jets came in and beat the Pats pretty handily that day. The Pats just did not play as well as they had all year. Their offense sputtered, and their defense could not come up with any turnovers at all. Seems extremely similar to this years Pats team.
In last years Super Bowl the Pats were extremely inconsistent on offense and the defense let them down in the critical moments. When in earlier rounds of the postseason and in the regular season the defense came up with the critical stops and the offense was unstoppable throughout the year.
That brings us to the most recent playoff failure. The Pats played a pretty good first half, in fact they dominated the time of possession and except for one good Raven drive, they dominated the game. Yet at the half the Pats were only up by 6. The Ravens were getting outplayed and only down by 6, I could just feel that the game would switch and the Pats would come to regret their inability to put TD’s on the board.
We all know what happened next, the Pats got beat down in the second half and will be home watching the Super Bowl from their couch like the rest of us. Throughout all these recent playoff failures, it has not been the other team “out-smarting’ them, or beating them talent wise. It has been the Pats beating themselves and pretty much playing like crap. It is really hard to fathom a team that looked so unbeatable in the postseason 8 years ago, look so beatable now. ‘Patriots Nation’ has come to expect more from a Belichick and Brady led team, they were always the ones that didn’t make the crucial mistake. The Pats were always the ones that showed up to play. Now, it seems some games they decide to play up to their potential and murder the opponent (11 divisional vs. Broncos) and other times play like crap (Sunday vs. Ravens).
If New England wants to get back to the promised land, they are going to have to go back to their ‘Dynasty’ days and not beat themselves. They are going to have to play good, solid, mistake free football to win another title. With Brady at QB and Belichick coaching them, the Pats will always be in the conversation for the championship But in order to get there they are going to have to look back and do what they used to do in the early 2000’s.