Wes Welker and plenty other New England Patriots are feeling the blame following their 21-17 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. In a game that could have won the Patriots their fourth Lombardi Trophy this century, they made too many mistakes to come out victorious.
With so much at stake and so many eyes glued to the television, fans are going to blame different players for the loss. Some of it justified more than others. But the fact of the matter is, one player didn't lose this game for the Patriots. There were plenty of opportunities for multiple individuals to make plays and it just didn't happen.
Having squandered chances to win the game late, there certain players that can be blamed for the loss.
It's hard to place blame on a guy who was responsible for 81 total yards (60 receiving, 20 rushing), but the big dropped pass will forever haunt Wes Welker. A catch there, and the Patriots can essentially run most of the clock down and likely win the Super Bowl.
Albeit, it wasn't a great throw by Tom Brady which forced Welker to turn while making the catch. He was unable to do so. While the throw was far from perfect, and Brady will get his blame, it was a catch that a player of Welker's caliber should have come up with.
Welker was understandably upset following the game and took full responsibility for the drop.
The man that led the Patriots to the Super Bowl came up short for the second straight time as Tom Brady didn't do enough to pull out a victory. Things got off to a shaky start for Brady as he opened the scoring with an intentional grounding penalty committed in the end zone for a safety and two points for the Giants.
Brady never really got it going throughout the evening. He dinked and dunked his way down the field at times, but just wasn't able to open up the field. His longest completion of the night was a 21-yarder to Chad Ochocinco.
Surely Brady's receivers could have given him more help, but plenty of throws were off-target, including the big incompletion off the hands of Wes Welker. Brady's interception was the result of a horrible decision to throw a jump ball to a guy who could barely run, let alone jump.
It may not be Gronkowski's fault he was injured and unable to contribute fully, but it was one of the biggest reasons the Patriots lost the game. With a healthy Gronk, the Patriots most likely use that added benefit and go onto to win their fourth Lombardi Trophy.
Many have speculated that if Gronk was healthier, he would have had a shot to lay out and catch the tipped Hail Mary before it hit the ground. This notion is ridiculous. If Gronk was healthy, there is no way the Patriots would have needed that Hail Mary.
Rob Ninkovich played a solid game, but committed a huge penalty in the fourth quarter which had a substantial impact on the game. Facing a 3rd-and-7 from their own 11-yard line, the Giants dialed up a long pass play, but the ball fell incomplete. Flag. Ninkovich was called for lining up in the neutral zone as he tried to anticipate the snap count.
Instead of a punt that surely would have given the Patriots great field position and a chance to improve their 17-15 lead, the Giants got to replay the down. They needed just two yards this time, but a completion to Hakeem Nicks gained 12 yards.
The Giants got two more first downs following the penalty, and drove the ball all the way to the Patriots 43-yard line. Finally, the Patriots defense forced a punt which was downed at the 8-yard line.
Guard Logan Mankins must want to gather up all the game tape from Super Bowl XLVI and burn it. Good luck. Mankins had a terrible game as he was abused throughout the game and gave up pressure in the most critical moments.
When Tom Brady was forced to throw the ball away and was called for intentional grounding and a safety, it was Mankins who surrendered the pressure. When Brady heaved the ball downfield in the face of pressure and was intercepted, it was Mankins who allowed the rush. When the Patriots had one last shot to win the game, and a sack of Brady all but broke the spine of the Patriots, it was once again on Mankins.