Moving on to the 2nd installment of this week's "Around The AFC East," we now turn our attention to the New England Patriots. And helping us out is the relatively new blogger over at Pats Pulpit (who is doing a hell of a job, by the way), MaPatsFan. His response to my question is below. Head over to his site to see how I responded to his question.
Matty I: I haven't really talked with you about last season's Super Bowl, so let's start with that game. Seemingly everybody thought the Pats would win that game and complete the perfect season. What exactly went wrong in that game? Do you blame the offensive line the most for not keeping Tom Brady protected? Are the coaches also to blame for not really making any adjustments?
MaPatsFan:From a philosophical level, I think the Patriots bought into the hype. They were the heir apparent to the "Perfect Season" crown and paid the price. NE came to put the crowning achievement on their historic season while the Giants came to win a football game – big difference. This Super Bowl was won in the trenches, not in the air; although, Tyree's "helmet catch" was one of the single greatest SB moments I've witnessed.
You are correct in assuming the Offensive Line fell down. Matt Light in particular was owned by Osi Umenyora. It got to Light and he committed the cardinal sin of all cardinal sins in a game of such importance: 2 false starts. From a veteran player, that's unheard of. But, while the O line struggled all night, I don't think that's the main reason for failure.
The Patriots are known for adjusting at halftime and coming out swinging. If they're down in the half or only have a small lead, they adjust very well and kick in the afterburners. That didn't happen in the Super Bowl. I put the blame squarely on Josh McDaniels, the Offensive Coordinator. Brady simply didn't have enough time to get the ball off. This is where...gulp...Peyton Manning shines. McDaniels should've switched to very quick, short passes. Drop back and fire - 1 or 1 and a half seconds at the most. Forget about the big pass down the sideline to Moss; move the chains in the slot with WR Wes Welker or RB Kevin Faulk. Aarrgghh!!
My Take: You can just sense the frustration when you read MaPatsFan's words above. And I'd have to agree with him 100%. The Patriots were a victim of their own hype. They arrived in Arizona for a celebration. The Giants arrived to win a football game. And while I do blame McDaniels for not making adjustments, I think much of this stems from their arrogance, which starts at the top with Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick and filters down to the rest of the organization. If you weren't a believer in karma before this game, you have to be now. The Pats got exactly what they deserved. And they only have themselves to blame.
Well be sure to head over to Pats Pulpit to see my response to his question.
Back with the final installment of "Around The AFC East" in a little bit.