To say that the Patriots “exceeding expectations” this season is an understatement. The Patriots made it to the AFC Championship game, a game no one thought they would make it while considering how much injuries and adversity this team faced all season. Yes, every team faces injuries and issues but as many as the Patriots have had to overcome this 2013-14 football season? I don’t think so. We all know the Aaron Hernandez debacle, Gronk coming back and then brutally tearing his ACL, two of arguably top 20 defensive players in Mayo and Wilfork faced season ending injuries, along with Sebastian Volmer, a key part to our offensive line, Tommy Kelly, Adrian Wilson also both out with injuries. Another crazy thing is we had 17 rookies on our team, 17, and 7 of them starting.
What stings most about yesterday’s loss is the fact it’s the championship game and it was to the Manning and the Broncos. But in all honesty, is there any other team or quarterback you’d rather lose too? What most will take away from this game is “Brady struggling once again in a championship game” and it’s his fault for us losing. Sorry, not true. Yes Brady had his share of mistakes, but most of all, the defense cost us this game this time around. A lot was said was for the Patriots to kill the clock and keep Manning off the field, that failed and that’s what Manning did to the Patriots. It knocked the offense off of rhythm and had us fighting from behind all game. The defense gave up big play after big play, first down after first down, and frankly we should’ve got blown out of the thin air in Denver. To beat the Seahwaks, Manning is finally going to experience the cold weather and a legit defense this postseason, so they’re going to have to come harder than they did against two horrible defenses.
This game was gold for all the Patriots haters out there. Say what you want, Brady still has Peyton’s number, the rings, and more playoff success. We exceeded expectations, a whole new offense, receivers no one would remember and a defense being changed around every single game. Brady didn’t have any receiver he was familiar with besides Edelman and no one more trustworthy than Gronk. No other coach and quarterback in the NFL can come together, figure it out, and succeed with the amount of injuries, personnel changes and no familiarity with their targets more than Brady and Belichick. What Brady and Belichick did this season showed us their genius and mastery. Most credit to Belichick but no quarterback can do that and still make it to the championship game, nope not even Manning.
Still the greatest?? Yes. Brady and Manning can fight for that spot for the rest of their careers.
Injuries and lack of playmakers finally caught up to the Patriots. The running game was stopped because of the long drives by Denver and having to play from behind against a great team. Brady missed throws but it’s evident even the greatest can’t win by just throwing to 5’9 slot receivers all game. It’s just not possible. “Oh, Brady only scared against prevent defense”. Um, who’s fault is that? Why were the broncos in prevent defense against these small slot receivers?! Makes no sense. They should have stuck to what they were doing, Brady recognized it and exploited it. That’s that.
Another tough exit from the postseason but not truly heartbreaking. The patriots outperformed everyone up until yesterday; and it was shown how much home field advantage matters. Maybe if we didn’t get robbed in the Jets and Panthers game it would have been a different story. In the end though, this Patriots team has been one of the most fun Patriots teams I’ve ever seen come together and play as a team. No quit ever. A tough loss but not the end, the Patriots will win the Super Bowl next season. This team is scary for years to come.