So, another year ends for the New England Patriots. Another year of promise ends ringless. All of Patriot Nation is looking on the bright side of a good season that fell just short (well, certainly on Twitter they are).
But thinking about it, we didn't deserve it. Not just in terms of the game against the Baltimore Ravens, but all season, we kind of sucked.
Well, when I say sucked, I mean we didn't reach a level that would have got us to the Super Bowl, we never played well enough. You've got to play like champions to be champions, and the Patriots never really did that.
Before you just dismiss me as a grumpy, pessimistic so and so, think about every game this season. Did we play like champions for 60 minutes in any of them? Sure, we blew a few teams out, got some garbage time points. But I'll run down the games, and see what you think:
Cardinals - The less said, the better.
Ravens - Got a lead, blew it. Couldn't stop Flacco.
Bills (away) - Terrible 1st half, we were nearly down 3 TDs. Not championship stuff.
Broncos - Now this was a good performance, against a good team. Brady got us a lead, we ran it out. But we let Peyton back in too easy, and thanks to a couple of good defensive plays, we won. This was pretty close to what I was looking for.
Seahawks - Next.
Jets (home) - Forced into overtime by Mark Sanchez??? Next.
Rams - Now this was a good one. Gave up an early TD, but Brady went out and got 5 TDs on the board in the first 5 possessions. Rams offense were shutdown for the rest of the game. This was demolishing a decent, not good, team.
Bills (home) - Nowhere near good, came down to a lousy Fitzpatrick pick.
Colts - Not a bad performance. Enter Talib to shore up the defense. Luck still moved the ball far too easily on us though, and he made some rookie errors. Brady took advantage. It was a blowout, and it was pretty good.
Jets (away) - 3 TDs in 50 seconds due to pure Jets incompetence killed it. Patriots were awful in the first quarter. Didn't really get it going, despite the scoreline.
Dolphins (away) - Did enough to win, wasn't a good performance.
Texans - Beating an 11-1 team so heftily was very good, but then it turned out the Texans weren't very good. In a game massively built up, the Patriots played really well.
49ers - Perfect for 11 minutes. Shame we were so terrible for the other 49 (ha, 49... Moving on.)
Jaguars - Horrible.
Dolphins - Wait, we can get to the QB? Since when? Not bad, got a shut out, but offensively we weren't great.
So... 16 games, I reckon we played Championship quality football in 4 of them max. We weren't really stretched, which meant the Patriots never really had to step up their game. Of course, you have to bear in mind that we never really had the Awesome Foursome together since week 1.
On a positive side, I think we've laid the foundation for a good defense, we just need depth. And we didn't have luck in terms of injury, or a kicker.
I'm not trying to be doom and gloom. I'm not just venting frustrations over another season lost. I'm just thinking realistically. We played a crappy Texans team in the divisional round. All of a sudden, we're in the AFC Title game, and we hadn't really earned it. We certainly didn't earn it like the Ravens did. When you have played crappy teams most of the season, and not played brilliant football against most of them, you have to wonder if we ever stood a chance. We had to raise our game to a level which had to beat what is perhaps the most motivated team in football ever, for all the marbles. And we didn't. And that's the sad truth that won't go away until September.
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