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Destination Dallas? Not quite.

By Ryan Hannable

This won't be a normal post, I have a few thoughts on yesterdays 28-21 loss to the Jets in the Divisional round of the playoffs that I want to get off my chest.

- The benching of Wes Welker for the first series had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. To me it made no sense as to why he went out to return the punt, and then was benched for the following series, but him not being out there had no affect on the outcome of the game. In fact the Patriots moved the ball quite well getting to around the Jets 25 yard line before Brady's INT. Also, the INT was a screen play Welker being out there would not have affected that either. It was just a terrible throw by Brady.

- The play calling which had been a strength all season long, was terrible yesterday. In the first half the Patriots were way too pass happy. All year long the Patriots were very good at balancing the run and the pass, running the ball just enough to set up play action. The Patriots did not do that at all yesterday, pretty much abandoning the run in the first half and not being in sync at all. Then in the second half being behind by two scores, the offense seemed to depend more on the run when they should have been pushing the tempo going hurry up. The Jets were pretty much daring the Patriots to run the ball, and the Pats fell into their trap. Ben Jarvis Green Ellis only had nine carries all game long, for the success he has had all year long he needed to get more than nine carries. Also, where were the quick slants? The Jets were playing man on the outside and a zone over the middle. I would have imagined a slant over the middle of about five yards would have been there. Perfect for Welker.

- The fake punt was the turning point in the game. While it was learned today that Patrick Chung was the one who called for it and Belichick and the other coaches did not have anything to do with it, it was still a terrible decision. First of all, why is a second year player making a call like this? Secondly, I don't think he would have even got the first down if he caught the ball cleanly. And finally it just was not the time for the call. It was more of a desperation move, something you would have expected from the Jets. It came at the two minute mark in the first half. If the Patriots kick the ball the Jets would have got the ball around the 20 or 30 yard line. In all likelihood the Jets would have just sat on the ball and been happy going into the half up 7-3. The Patriots were getting the ball and with a score could have got the lead back. Instead the Patriots gambled and didn't get it and allowed the Jets an extra seven points and a double digit lead that put the Patriots in a position to lose going into the second half.

- Tom Brady struggles against pressure up the middle. When the pressure comes from the outside Brady can step up in the pocket, something he is very good at. But, when the pressure comes from the middle Brady is forced to move to his right and left and this is an area that he struggles with. The Jets pressured Brady up the middle all night and Brady never really seemed comfortable dropping back to pass.

- The onside kicks were definitely available. On both of them Patriot players had a chance at the ball. I like that sort of kick as opposed to the traditional kicking it straight into the ground hoping for a perfect bounce. Looking back on it maybe I would have kicked it deep with 1:51 left and 2 time outs. If you can force a three and out you get the ball back with around a minute and no time outs, but as shown in prior postseasons Tom Brady can lead comebacks.

- The defense has been too dependent on the offense all year long. For the majority of the season the offense has given the defense a double digit lead, thus making playing defense a lot easier and being able to play a more relaxed style. The defense had never really played in a game from behind that they won, (besides the Ravens game). When the Patriots scored at the end of the third quarter making it a one score game, the defense was put in a position where they needed to step up and get a stop. They failed and gave up a 75 yard TD drive, making it a double digit game again. This defense was not good enough to win a championship, they were good, but not good enough.

- Give credit to the Jets. They had an outstanding game plan and executed it perfectly. They deserved to win the game.

Check back next week for a wrap up of the 2010 season and a look ahead to 2011. Feel free to email me at ryanhannable@yahoo.com with any questions and comments. Follow me on twitter at Hannable84.

3 comments:

  1. Pretty fair overall review of a disappointing loss. I thought the Pats should have gone to the no huddle much sooner, as they seemed out of rhythm all game. The Pats are very well balanced, but lack a true explosive threat at WR and RB. No team is more familiar with that than the Jets. As you said, give the Jets credit for a well played game. It was the first time in a long time that Belichik did not make adjustments to counter what the opponent was doing. - Dave Bruning, broncosmix.com

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  2. I agree with giving credit to the Jets, I think as an organization they just wanted it more where we maybe expected it. Big difference, I think with the young talent added this year we will still be going to plenty of Super Bowls in the years to come. No reason to completely overreact.

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  3. Yes, I agree with "Anonymous" the Patriots still have a ton of young talent and this year was supposed to be a "rebuilding" year. WIth a good amount of early draft picks they will be one of the top teams again in the AFC next year and in years to come.

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