I’m not here to analyze the game. I’m just going to dump my thoughts on this Patriots season here. Welcome to my therapy session.
The offense never really got going. The defense fell flat on their faces when it mattered most. Stephon Gilmore got torched by DeVante Parker who grabbed 8 receptions for 137 yards. Bill Belichick had such little confidence in his team that he elected to allow the clock to just run out at the end of the first half leaving three timeouts safely in his pocket. It was a gross, putrid display put on by the Patriots in Sunday’s season finale loss that dropped them down to the 3-seed, causing them to lose their bye week.
But frankly, can we be honest for a second? Did this team even deserve to be one of the two with a bye week this postseason?
Don’t get me wrong, there was a point during the regular season where I thought the Kansas City Chiefs were a bunch of frauds. I thought the offense was taking a sizable step back and their defense was as mediocre as ever. But they did something that the Patriots couldn’t do. And that was turn up the heat as the season grew older.
Isn’t it asinine that we at one point were having legitimate discussions about the possibility of this team going 16-0? A team that had Josh Gordon (pre-suspension) and Antonio Brown as targets for a 42-year-old Tom Brady?
A 12-4 record isn’t bad by any means. Hell, it’s better than what they finished with last year. And we’ve had these discussions year after year. We ask if Tom Brady’s done. We ask if this team has enough to reach the Super Bowl. We ask what the issues are and discuss whether or not they’re fixable. And then we end up having our Super Bowl parties up here in New England while we watch this team prove us wrong time after time.
But this year just feels… Different. Did we say that last year? A lot of us did. But this year feels even worse than that if we’re being honest.
Tom Brady looks hurt. Point blank. The offensive line had a solid day on Sunday and that takes away the cruth people have been using all year while they conjure up some excuses for Brady. With time in the pocket, he was missing targets which included one God awful pick-6. Are his weapons less than ideal? Sure. But there comes a point where you have to start taking a look at other faults of the team and one this year has glaringly been the guy who’s made receivers perform past their abilities his entire career.
TOM BRADY PICK 6😮
Eric Rowe takes it back for the Dolphins!pic.twitter.com/fQxztbfYvZ
— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) December 29, 2019
The offense has been the detriment all season in New England. The defense was historically great as far as a franchise standpoint goes. They averaged 14.1 points per game which, get this, was the best in the NFL. For a majority of the year, the defense coupled with special teams is what carried this team to a 12-win season which in the end, should have been 13 wins. Don’t tell me they didn’t take a slight step back at all, though.
And the red-zone… Jesus Christ, are they a new football team? The red-zone proved to be an Achilles’ heal that, if not corrected, will end their season quickly. ESPECIALLY come the postseason.
26th. The Patriots ranked 26th in the NFL when it came to converting red-zone trips into touchdowns. They finished off the season at a 50% conversion rate and for a good chunk of the year, it sat around 48%. Tell me how you’re going to beat two teams who can essentially put points on the board at will in Kansas City or Baltimore when you only convert in the red-zone half of the time?
There’s really nothing left to say here. Tom Brady’s battling some sort of injury, whether or not he wants to admit it. Julian Edelman needed this week off to nurse his ailing shoulder. And all you had to do was beat a Ryan Fitzpatrick led Miami Dolphins team who came into Gillette Stadium with a 4-11 record.
All week long, you heard members of the team talk about how they were entering Sunday like it was a playoff game. You better hope that this isn’t how they play when the legitimate postseason starts. Because if it is, Patriots fans will have to do something they’re unfamiliar with… Watching the Divisional Round, Conference Championship and Super Bowl… Without the Patriots in it.
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-Nick Quaglia (@NickQuag)