Here are the four most underrated playoff moments in Patriots franchise history.
For the first time in nearly two decades, the New England Patriots will enter a season where oddsmakers didn’t pencil them in as one of the prohibitive favorites to win the Super Bowl. Putting our fandom and emotions aside, we totally respect that decision.
Not only did several starters from 2019 leave in free agency, the most notable of which was quarterback Tom Brady, but nearly a dozen players elected to opt out of playing this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though head coach Bill Belichick seems to always have a trick up his sweatshirt sleeves, this magnitude of roster turnover has forced pundits to question if the Patriots dynasty has run its course.
If this really is the end of the road for New England’s reign of supremacy — even if it’s only for a season or two — it seems fitting to reflect on some of the most underrated moments in franchise history. There’s a shipment of options to choose from, but we managed to narrow the list down to four.
4. Le’Veon Bell leaving 2017 AFC Championship Game
If there was ever a time when Mike Tomlin’s zone defense was exposed, it was during the 2017 AFC Championship Game as Brady and the Patriots carved up the Pittsburgh Steelers to the tune of 431 total yards.
The matchup had all of the makings to be a classic, but it ultimately turned into a 36-17 Patriots romp, which makes it extremely overlooked in conversations regarding some of the greatest playoff triumphs in franchise history.
However, when you take into consideration the sheer talent on both sides of the ball for Pittsburgh, this win absolutely deserves recognition as one of the most notable of the 2010s for the Patriots — and never forget Le’Veon Bell leaving with an injury in the first quarter, leaving the ‘Burgh bereft of talent and embarrassed. That helped springboard New England to victory using an entirely different game plan than they’d intended. DeAngelo Williams just wasn’t the same kind of threat.
It also preluded the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, when New England erased a 28-3 halftime deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons! Come on, folks –put more respect on the Pats’ dub over Pittsburgh in 2017.