And it wasn't the defense. Even though the defense allowed Baltimore to move the ball on that game-winning drive, even though the defense allowed the Ravens to stay in the game, it was the offense that didn't hold its side of the bargain.
The Patriots offense had so many chances to end this game. And they didn't execute. When the Pats' defense stopped the Ravens on 4th & 1, the offense didn't do much. They were up by 9, with about 10 minutes left, and a chance to make it a 16 point game. Or even a 12 point game. 6 plays and 3:21 later and Baltimore had the ball back.
And the drive before that, the Patriots drove to the Baltimore 2, and only managed a field goal.
The Patriots made 5 trips to the Red Zone and only managed 3 touchdowns.
There were other missed opportunities. Joe Flacco should have been picked off 3 times, not just once. Devin McCourty bungled those. He was also burnt more than an Irishman's skin in the Sahara with no sunscreen. I don't know how such horrific burns don't appear on the injury report.
The play-calling last night was, at times, infuriating. The direct-snap to Danny Woodhead, then end-around to Julian Edelman was one of the most enraging moments of my life. It's 2nd & 6, you're moving the ball with traditional plays, so you open up Boise State's playbook, and get all cute and clever? Why?
The Ravens had been penetrating into the backfield all night until that point, and McDaniels/Belichick/Brady gave them a chance to blow up a play and end a drive.
I get the feeling with this offense that they're trying to win a certain way, instead of just trying to win any way possible. These tricks and gadgets are for the Bad News Bears or for the softball team from Camp Misfit when the super-athletes from across the lake come to play them.
If you think you need to try these tricky type of plays in order to win, then you don't have faith in your offense to simply execute the simple.
In that drive, the Patriots already tried an end-around and got a 1st down out of it. So Baltimore was already keenly aware of such a possibility. More traditional plays had been working, so why risk a big loss on 2nd & 6?
Sometimes you can think yourself so smart that you do stupid things and don't even notice it.
Anyway, I'll talk about the refs in a separate post, because it's a big enough issue in and of itself. The refs didn't cause the Patriots to lose, the Patriots caused this loss themselves. Although it's strange how Rob Gronkowski gets called for holding at least once a game. Are these all these replacement refs related to Bibi Jones or something?
Anyway, the Patriots should have won the last 2 games and didn't. That's good news/bad news. The good news is this team has talent enough to be 3-0. The bad news is, they haven't demonstrated an ability to consistently turn that talent into victory. They haven't executed, and consequently they'e 1-2, and below .500 for the first time in 145 games.
And you know what, you can't help but feel sentimental for Torrey Smith. He had a brilliant game only a few hours after tragedy completely changed his life. Logos and jerseys aside, I'm glad he had a good game.
The Pats are in Buffalo next Sunday. The Bills, along with the Jets, are ahead of the Patriots in the AFC East standings. I just puked in my mouth.