EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 20, 2014

An angry end to amazing Pats' season

Six reasons this defeat to Denver is simply painful

In a day, a week, or a month, the true New England Patriots football fan can look back on 2013 with affection and even a little bit of joy. The Pats of ‘13 took on so many troubles and rose above time and time again.

But how do you escape the immediate anguish from yesterday’s AFC title embarrassment at Denver, a 26-16 humbler at the hands of Peyton Manning?

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick fell to 5-3 in AFC title games and by the way, a pedestrian 8-8 in their last 16 playoff games.

“I wish we could have done a little better job today … especially me,” said Belichick.

It’s the whimper they fell with, doing little or nothing defensively or offensively to even involve themselves in the decision.

The gameplan, the performance, the lack of adjustments … It was one of the worst efforts by Belichick and his staff in a long time.

In a year where Belichick owned the National Football League … he didn’t show up yesterday.

Here are six head shakers.

1. The offensive response:

Look, Denver wasn’t in gear early. The Patriots defense fortunately forced a punt and a field goal.

So how does the offense respond?

Short pass, rush, short pass, punt.

Followed by short pass, rush, long pass, punt.

Thank you, Mr. (Josh) McDaniels for Play Calling 101. Don’t try to get tricky here at all. Look at you, Mr. Sneaky, trying to hide the attempted bomb to Matt Slater of all people. I never would have figured the guy who hasn’t played offense in weeks and is wicked fast to run a fly pattern.

The possession of the game hung in the balance and the offensive coaching was out to lunch.

2. Where are the safeties:

Can somebody call Steve Gregory and tell him the game is over. He lined up and played so far off the ball, that it was like a 10 on 11.

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