There was a lack of balance on offense. Tom Brady was forced to throw the ball 58 times on Sunday, as the run game just couldn't get going. Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden and Danny Woodhead could only manage 87 yards collectively, after two consecutive 200 yard games. The offense was predictable at the end of this game, and it cost us. The offense had numerous opportunities to kill off this game, but Stephen Gostkowski was forced to kick a 25 yard field goal, and two from 35 yards.
The red zone efficiency of 16% is just unheard of. The fact we were playing the #1 defense in the league naturally made things harder, but we had the #1 offense going into this, and with deadly red zone targets like Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and an unhealthy Aaron Hernandez, who did make a grab in the end zone, you've got to believe that the percentage has to be a lot higher. Again, the lack of run game didn't help this. The running backs have also been great in the red zone. Mot of their league leading 10 TDs have come in the red zone.
And the defense... Lets start with the positives. The front seven looked impressive again. The Seahawks run game was shut down. Just 85 yards on the ground for Seattle, including managing to stop Russell Wilson using his legs to get yards. I liked the use of Rob Ninkovich at OLB and Jermaine Cunningham getting the start at DE. The other end Chandler Jones was incredible again, with 2 sacks and a forced fumble. This kid must be close to Defensive Rookie of the Year if he keeps this up.
OK, now that's done, lets get to this secondary. The game plan for this game had to be "Shut down Marshawn Lynch, and dare Wilson to throw on us. If we can make plays like against the Buffalo Bills, we will win this". Unfortunately, we allowed a rookie QB to throw for 293 yards on just 16 completions. Not good enough. This secondary jut can't stop anything deep. Too many times they end up in one on one situations, and too many times they lose. Whether it be Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Wilson, whenever an opposing QB throws it long, you just know that their receiver will beat our DB, and pick up a lot of yards. The secondary is killing us.
The blame game is naturally going to be played. But it shouldn't be. The Patriots under Bill Belichick has been all about the team. We've won Super Bowls as a team. We've lost Super Bowls as a team. This team is 3-3, when it should be 6-0. Look at the Atlanta Falcons. So many of their games have been really tight, coming down to the last seconds. They could easily be 3-3. But they are 6-0. They've been able to pull out wins where the Patriots haven't. We had the chance to beat the Arizona Cardinals, and we missed that chance. We blew a 9 point lead against the Baltimore Ravens when we had numerous opportunities to finish the job. And the same happened on Sunday.
It might all look doom and gloom. But don't think this is a bad team. This team can go far in the play-offs. As I said last week, we need to start playing 60 minutes of football to win games. And that needs to start Sunday against the New York Jets.
Keep the faith. In Belichick we trust.