And for the life of me, I have to wonder if at age 31, you should be risking Wes Welker in the punt return game, since the only option if he gets hurt is Kamar Aiken, who has as many career NFL catches as you and I do combined.
Ray Lewis may have been quoting the Bible when he talked about ‘No weapon,” or maybe he was just sizing up the Pats’ offense without Rob Gronkowski.
On defense, the Ravens did exactly what they did to the Broncos last week, compressing the field with no fear of Tom Brady throwing the deep ball.
Their safeties were both often 12 yards off the ball, roughly a third of the depth Devin McCourty takes pre-snap.
This season turned out like the 2005 and 2006 teams did, which had the Pats yearning for receiving threats.
The team needs a Julio Jones, Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin or the like. There is no fear.
And don’t fall on the Gronk’s hurt crutch either. He’s been hurt two straight years. One more and it becomes a habitual thing.
THE TURNING POINT: Conservatives take over Bay State
Up 3-0 already with the Baltimore defense reeling, Tom Brady misses Brandon Lloyd on a third-and-2 play from the Baltimore 45, and the Pats elect to punt on fourth-and-2.
The same Bill Belichick known for an egregious 4th-and-2 just a couple years back on his own 28, punts today.
Energized by the lack of the knockout blow, the Ravens march 90 yards and take a 7-3 lead. It was all the confidence this offense needed, and they went on to shred the Pats defense.
Belichick had to go there. He failed us.
Five thoughts as I sit a tad stunned at the loss
1. The Super Bowl runner-up struggles continue. Miami remains the only runner-up to ever get back to the big game and win.
2. The Pats’ quit way too early.
3. The Pats absorbed a physical spanking that they will feel for weeks. Don’t expect Tom Brady or Wes Welker at the Pro Bowl. Just a hunch, but I wouldn’t think they’ll be playing.
4. Bernard Pollard remains a New England nemesis after the kill shots he landed last night.
5. I really wanted a week in New Orleans.