4th Down: Bounce-back defense
The New England Patriots got as far as they did in 2019 on the back of their stellar defense. Led by Stephon Gilmore, Kyle Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, etc., the defense of New England was the best in the NFL.
However, their kryptonite was the running game of the opposing offense. Ultimately that was one of the major reasons why they lost Saturday night. They simply could not stop Derrick Henry, as he ran all over the Patriots for 182 yards.
This is very unusual for them, because Bill Belichick always tries to take out the opposition’s best weapon and forces them to find a different way. Even though there were a few third down plays that the Patriots couldn’t force a punt, the running game ended the game in the grand scheme of things. If they could’ve forced Ryan Tannehill to beat them, maybe – just maybe – New England could’ve won the game.
On a positive note though, despite Henry running for almost 200 yards, the defense kept the offense in the game by holding the Titans to two touchdowns total, all in the first half. And in the second half they certainly settled down.
All in all, it just wasn’t good enough, and now it is on to 2020.