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There is no time to let up.
The Patriots have seen wins slip beneath their fingertips on several occasions over the last couple of seasons. And that painful trend won't subside until the squad plays 60 minutes of foot-on-the-gas football.
In Week 2 vs. the Arizona Cardinals, New England's lackadaisical performance put all the marbles on the leg of kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Not all the blame of that 20-18 defeat can be brandished on Gostkowski, however, as the Patriots let the game get to a point of fate. It wasn't Gostkowski who allowed the Cardinals to go up 20-9 early in the fourth quarter.
Facing the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3, the Patriots watched a 13-point first quarter lead dwindle into a 31-30 loss after Ravens' rookie kicker Justin Tucker coasted the football over the right upright. It should have never come to that, yet the Patriots were unable to control the ball when it mattered most.
When the Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 52-28 in Week 4, the game should have been even further out of reach when the clock struck 0:00. But that wasn't the case, since the Bills were up 14 points in the midst of the third quarter.
Even during New England's 31-21 victory over the Denver Broncos in Week 5, the Patriots were up 31-7 with 4:51 left in the third. Peyton Manning and Denver stormed back, scoring 14 unanswered.
The Patriots can never get complacent, because slow starts and indecisive fourth quarters will come back to bite them the same way it did in Super Bowl XLII and XLVI.