The blame pie might not be big enough to go around for the Patriots this week.
A 13-point, fourth quarter lead against a Seahawks offense that isn’t considered remotely close to New England’s wasn’t enough. The Patriots fell flat on their facemasks.
In that quarter, Seattle went 80 yards in just two minutes. Later, it went 57 yards in just 1:20. It happened so fast that the Patriots secondary never even had a chance to turn around – literally.
What did each of those two scoring drives have? A pass play for more than 45 yards. On Seattle’s first play from scrimmage during its first fourth quarter TD drive, quarterback Russell Wilson found wide receiver Golden Tate down the middle for 51 yards.
On the other one, Wilson found another receiver, Sidney Rice, for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Those were just two of seven plays that the Pats allowed to go for 20 or more yards.
The defensive woes are well documented, but what about the Pats prolific offense led by wonderboy Tom Brady? It wasn’t on display from 0:06 left in the second quarter on out.
Don’t hate on that play call. It was the execution on Brady’s part that led to the failure. Is five seconds enough time for a future Hall-of-Famer to hike and throw a ball three yards, whether caught or not? You betcha. Brady’s first of two intentional grounding penalties was uncharacteristic and cost New England three easy points.
“We’ve practiced that situation a lot,” Pats O-coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “We understand the dynamic that’s at play there and we made the decision to go ahead and run an extra play … Tom knew he had to throw the ball quickly, whether that was to find a receiver fast or to throw it away quickly.”
And when New England had ball with less than three minutes left in the game? Three and out by the offense, poor punt coverage by the special teams, and non-existent pass defense by the secondary.
That’s no way to close a game.
“It’s an area that I think we need to do a better job of all the way around – it’s not any one person or any one thing or even any one play, but collectively all the units …” Bill Belichick said.