Once again, Darth Hoodie put together a menacing Death Star of football efficiency. And once again, it had a fatal flaw.
The Pats' failure can't be blamed on a thermal exhaust pipe the size of a womp rat, but it might be blamed—at least in part—on poor clock management at crucial times.
That falls primarily on the coaching staff.
Belichick and company seem to have lost their fastball with respect to clock management. They've been overly conservative with timeouts at the end of the first half, instead opting to try to catch the defense off guard with the hurry-up as the clocks winds down.
It hasn't worked in key situations this year, most notably in losses to the Seattle Seahawks and, of course, the AFC Championship Game defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens.
Belichick preaches situational football, but he himself should figure out his role in leaving points on the table in those situations. He needs to maximize opportunities to score points as the clock winds down, and that means ending this frustrating tendency to let the clock run when they have timeouts to spare.
Belichick wears a lot of hoodies for the Pats, including GM and head coach, and he's demonstrated over the years that he's among the best in league history at talent acquisition and coaching.
But he needs to make sure he's always putting that talent in the best position to win, and that means tightening up his own issues with managing the clock.