The New England Patriots have clearly failed short losing 28-13 to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship last Sunday. There are many factors to pin-point in this agonizing and painful game. But in the end, it is what it is. There is no try. Do or do not.
Part of being great and successful in the National Football League is overcoming injuries. Surely, the Patriots were facing tough loss due to injuries from the get-go, primarily in the final weeks of the regular season such as Julian Edelman (broken foot), Aqib Talib (hip) Rob Ninkovich (hip), and then Rob Gronkowski (foream) and Chandler Jones (ankle) during the playoff against Houston Texans. The set of injuries in the game against the Baltimore Ravens was ridiculous, for a lack of better word, starting with Aqib Talib (hamstring), Kyle Love (knee), Patrick Chung (shoulder), and sadly Stevan Ridley (head injury).
Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots mascot leads the team out to the field before the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
There was lack of execution across the board. The defense did what they could under the circumstances, but it was very disappointing not to hear Vince Wilfork’s name during game coverage – not even ounce. Brandon Spikes did not hold the end of the bargain when he said in a locker room interview last week.
“Me personally I felt I played my worst game of the season. I definitely want come out and do a lot better than I did in Week 3. Like I said, it’s a whole different defense.”
However, what can we expect? The offense missed several opportunities in third down completions throughout the entire game. It was more like a punt festival than anything else. Of course, if the Patriots defense is constantly on the field; playing about 31:06 of the 60 minutes of the game clock, soon very soon, all hell will break loose and fatigue sets in.
As the team wins as a team and loses as a team, there was some deficiency coming from the coaching staff as well. During the last few seconds of the second quarter, Tom Brady ran and went down short for a first down. In my opinion, that was the moment to call a time-out. There was about 10 seconds in the clock remaining and I believe there was still time for a touchdown pass. If the play was not successful, then stopping the clock once again and go for a field goal could have been an option. That was just an example of the many miss opportunities in play-calling and Coach Bill Belichick addressed the media in his post-game conference.
“I don’t think anything was really as good as it needed to be tonight. [We] gave up too many points, didn’t score enough. I’d say we probably came up a little short in every area.”
As a New England Patriots fan, win or lose, I will always be proud to be a Patriots fan. I see the game as it is because nothing is certain in football. Miracles can happen and disasters can happen.
Looking from a fan perspective without the football jargon and technicality, I would love to have seen the excitement, confidence, and energy coming from the players and coaching staff as I have seen many times before. There was no enthusiasm as the clock start to run its 60 minutes course. And that was the reason why the Patriots really came up short. And that was what I missed the most.
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