Making Sense

That’s something very few people are doing today, as they attempt to discuss the perhaps the worst loss (right up there with the Giants Super Bowl) of the Bill Belichick era.

I’m keeping it short and simple this afternoon, even as I duck out on listening to any sort of sports radio or television today. We’ll forego the hysterics, the gloating, and the smarm that appears in many stories today by sticking with these quick links:

Mistakes doomed Patriots before Belichick’s gamble - Shalise Manza Young’s game story in the ProJo.

Explain this? We’ll go for it - Albert Breer provides level-headed analysis of Belichick’s decision.

Defense takes share of the blame - Chris Forsberg has the defensive players denying that Belichick’s decision was an indictment of them.

Ten Things We Learned Last Night: Pats And Belichick Fall Short - Christopher Price takes more away from the game than simply the fourth down call.

Weak effort beneath Celtics - Yeah, the Celtics had a bad trip to Indy this weekend, too.

That’s all I got for now. Check Patriots Daily and  PatriotsLinks.com if you want all the gory details.

  • Rich

    Just avoid all media, its second guess city today.

    • Curtis

      Actually, in this case, its first guess city. Coach is on an island on this one as even Bruschi and Rodney came out strongly against the decision.

  • Steve

    While it was a tough way to lose a game, it is hardly the HUGE loss that ESPN and the rest of the media is making it out to be. If it were a playoff game, absolutely it would be a crushing defeat. However, it’s a regular season loss that will have little bearing in the big picture. Because whether the Patriots won, loss or tied last night, they are going to the playoffs. OK, so they probably don’t get home-field advantage for the AFC Championship, assuming they advance that far. But even if they had beaten the Colts, they would still have to make two games up in the overall conference standings. Now, I understand the chances of overcoming that are significantly better than making up four games. But it still doesn’t guarantee the Patriots would be able to do it and secure home-field. If losing to the Colts last night cost the Patriots a playoff berth (which it doesn’t), then yes it would be a devastating loss. As things currently standing, I still consider the Patriots legitimate Super Bowl contenders. One loss, demoralizing as it was, does not change my view on that and it shouldn’t to any sound-reasoning Pats fan.

    • Peter

      There is one team in the AFC that has not won a game in the another team’s home stadium so far this year. It’s not Buffalo, not Cleveland, not Kansas City, and not Oakland.

      It’s the New England Patriots.

      So yeah, losing any shot at home field IS a huge deal.

      The way they have blown leads in each away game (the London farce notwithstanding since it was neutral site) makes me think that they are NOT Super Bowl caliber.

    • http://BobEkstrom Bob Ekstrom

      Steve:

      I have to agree with Peter that this was HUGE. Your analysis is wrong; the Pats need have only made up one game if they had won last night, as they would have had the head-to-head.

      Maybe they never get that one game, and maybe this won’t affect the divisional standings. But maybe they’re reeling, and the Jets are in Belichick’s head already, too. The division could be down to a game next week, and the head-to-head would belong to the Jets.

      One thing you do know is that the Pats lost a great opportunity for a bye – which they still could get, but it’s a lot harder with Cincy one game ahead and unfavorable tie-breakers against Pittsburgh and Denver.

      So, if making the playoffs is your only litmus test, you had a great night last night since you’re now a week closer to January 10. You’ll probably see one home game, then it’s 50/50 you’ll have to travel back to Indy where Belichick no longer believes he has a shot of beating Manning.

      The best hope right now is that SD gets that task, which is a labor of love for them. They could take care of the Colts . . . or we could have just punted on 4th-and-2.

  • Chris

    The NY Jets are going to get doubly demolished Sunday afternoon. Once for their own win against the Pats and then again for last night. We’ve gotta take it out on SOMEONE. It won’t be fun being a Jets fan for the next six days.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Seawall

    Pats have no play makers on De. Gone are the days of Ty Law or A. Samuel and a pick 6. When is the last strip sack in a big game?

    Also, they have no ability to run out the clock in a game.

    • HighWireNickEsasky

      The Pats have 13 forced fumbles, which puts them 4th in the league (most is 15). Not sure how many of those were from “strip sacks” but a fumble is a fumble.

    • Lance

      You’re kidding, right? If you don’t know any of the playmakers you might just want to watch a game or two. Maybe you’ve heard of Jerod Mayo.

      But yeah, I guess it’s always easier for people to whine instead of think.

      • Classless

        Actually, Mayo hasn’t made any big plays this year. He’s the guy tackling the RB after he gained 5 yards. I want to agree with you about him, but sorry, facts get in the way.

  • Tony

    What they don’t have on defense is pass rushers. Let’s face it, the secondary is much better than it was last year, and given that they’re very young, they should only get better. What they don’t do nearly well enough is force the QB to make bad throws with constant pressure. Until they can fix that problem, there will be more and more losses like Sunday night.

  • mike b

    Not being a Patriots fan, I’m not going to pore over all the various commentaries. I am curious whether anyone bothered to look at the data on fourth-down success rates, however.

    If I remember the stat correctly, the two Bills — BB and Parcells — have the highest percentage of going for it on fourth down. So in that sense, the move was not out of character.

    As an aside, calling it the “second-worst loss” sounds like a bit of hysterics. It was a regular season game. Losing a playoff game is, by definition, always worse than losing a regular season game.

    • Jason Coyote

      While BB going for it on fourth down wasn’t beyond his normal MO, you have to at least admit that the game situations this time were considerably different than any other time he has taken the gamble.

      No question losing a playoff game is always worse, but this was a crushing regular season defeat for Pats fans who thought this was a championship-caliber team. The Pats have only won Super Bowls when they were a 1 or 2 seed, and Sunday’s loss has now made that possibility increasingly more difficult.