The Steelers Best Weapon Against New England Yesterday: The Patriots Lack of Mental Toughness
Yesterday had to have been one of the most painful Patriots games that I’ve ever watched. Not because the offense was non-existent for most of the game or because it seemed like the interior of the defensive line didn’t exist, but the number of penalties the team committed was staggering.
It was supposed to be one of the best games of the season. We were all looking forward to it, especially here in New England because generally the squad roles into Heinz Field and rolls over the Steelers and that big pervert, Ben Roethlisberger.
At the beginning of the
.@ChrisHogan_15: 𝑶𝑷𝑬𝑵— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 16, 2018
63-yard TD!#NEvsPIT | #GoPats pic.twitter.com/JdQsAxDCwp
Great. Awesome. At this point, I was ready to buckle up because this was going to be a
And then the offense stalled… again… disappeared and we never heard from them again.
The most blatant problem with the Patriots yesterday? The lack of mental discipline. Patriots fans, I’m talking to you now. If you don’t understand what that phrase means, it’s probably because you’ve barely had to use it with this organization since Belichick took over, other than 2009.
Whenever the Patriots would play other teams who would have brain malfunctions mid-game, we would destroy them. “HA! Look at these undisciplined fools! This would never happen to a Belichick ran team!”
Well, buddy, it did and it was bad yesterday. It was really, really bad. The poor performance as a whole just came from a lack of mental toughness. This isn’t the type of team that can go into a crazy environment and
What’s the most evident aspect pointing towards this team’s lack of mental discipline? Yesterday, the team committed 14 penalties. Nine of them came on offense, three on defense and two on special teams. It was a pathetic performance all the way around.
Now, sure, there were egregious penalties that probably shouldn’t have been called. Most notably that Jonathan Jones pass interference. That was disgusting on the referees part but we’ll let that one slide because hey, there were 13 OTHER PENALTIES CALLED.
The Patriots saw another breakout run by rookie running back Sony Michel that was negated by a holding penalty. A potential game changer. Nope. How could we let that play happen without grabbing too much shoulder pad?
On the final drive–where you would think that the team would find some discipline–there were two more penalties committed by the Patriots offensive line. TWO.
The Patriots sat at the Pittsburgh 11-yard line with time ticking down and Tom Brady threw an incomplete pass. Whatever, the team is still within striking distance of the end zone with the clock stopped. But wait! Offensive holding on Shaq Mason, driving the Patriots back to the 21-yard line! Weeeeee! Are we having fun!?
One thing that has always made the Patriots stand out is their game ready, mental discipline. In order to win these types of games, you need to be prepared and not commit stupid, stupid penalties. You rarely escape a game without a flag being thrown against you but man, how do the New England Patriots, in one of, if not THE biggest game of the year, manage to get 14 penalties called on them?
This clip’s been thrown around a ton today on Twitter and it fits the mold of this team perfectly. It comes from the 2009 season with Bill and Tom sitting on the sidelines watching their team’s season just disappear in front of them.
From Belichick's A Football Life: This is basically how the 2018 Pats are playing.pic.twitter.com/9l5q6tOhz2— PatriotsNation™️ (@PatsNationTM) December 17, 2018
No discipline. No grit. What’s wrong with the 2018 Patriots? My simple answer? This personnel only works with a Tom Brady that is playing like an MVP. This season it’s become clear, he isn’t that guy anymore. Or at least he isn’t that guy this season. And you’re not going to mask those issues if you can’t refrain from beating yourself up with flags.
I don’t want to be that guy but the old Patriots win this game and they win it with an offensive explosion. Is this the beginning of the end? Is this what it’s like to be a real fan of a non-dominant team? Because this sucks.
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-Nick Quaglia (@NickQuag)