The Patriots season did not end in sunny Santa Clara California, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as New England fans had hoped, instead it ended in defeat and disappointment in Denver. Blame the O-Line, blame the kicker, blame the play calling from McDaniels, even blame Tom Brady and the ducks he threw up for grabs resulting in two picks. For me, personally, I blame Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniel’s arrogant play calling in Miami earning the Patriots a week 17 loss and sending them to Denver for the AFC Championship rather than hosting it. The Patriots ran the ball 27 times for 70 yards, averaging 2.6 yards per carry. With multiple 3rd and long plays the coaching staff elected to run the ball and then punt. Only when it was too late did they allow Brady to throw and then the whole plan to protect Brady and establish a run game was out the window with the Dolphins getting pressure on every pass play, running through the Pats porous offensive line and leaving Brady tits up in the backfield for a good portion of the second half. Whoa, now that I got that out, I think I can move on.
The season is over and the grieving process has begun. As part of this process Tom Brady issued a handwritten letter to fans via Facebook. In the letter Brady thanks the fans for all the support over the season and states his pride in calling New England his home. A nice touch from Brady in a tough time for the team and New England fans. The AFC Championship was difficult to watch, with an un-Patriot-like performance allowing for mistakes, turnovers, and lack of execution. Outside of the defense from New England, this will not be a game with many positive things to look back on. Brady and the Pats never gave up, with big conversions down the field and then ultimately in the endzone to Gronkowski there was a glimmer of hope at the end but fell a 2-point conversion short.
Hopefully next season New England fans will once again see the well-oiled machine known as the Patriots offense with a better protection plan for TB12. One thing is for certain, New England will have a new offensive line coach, and, most would imagine, a differently looking offensive line to start next season.
On the upside for Patriot Nation, Tom Brady will return next year with a top notch core of receiving weapons, again be the favorite in the AFC East and a threat to go to Super Bowl 51. That cannot be said for Denver, this may be the last run for Ol’ Peyton Manning. So enjoy the Super Bowl Pat’s fans, no need to yell at the TV, or holler at whoever is reaching for nachos, blocking the game on a key third down, just enjoy the beer and truck commercials and watch the game like a casual sports fan, you know, like people from outside of New England.