In a contest that featured two divisional rivals and countless battles of words and wits leading up to kickoff, the New England Patriots were defeated by the New York Jets in the second round of the playoffs. Following the loss, criticism poured heavily from all media outlets. However, there was none more telling than the fact that New England beat themselves.
Everyone turns immediately to Tom Brady as he is the face of the franchise, but he was not the reason for the downfall of the Patriots. Yes, he threw his first interception in several games, but he completed nearly 65 percent of his throws and was accountable for two touchdowns. Not to mention, Alge Crumpler dropped an uncontested pass in the end zone that would have given New England an early lead.
In another unexpected turn, the Patriots seemed to game-plan outside of themselves as they attempted a few uncharacteristic plays, including a fake punt. In the era of Bill Belichick, never has New England used trickery or deception to gain an edge; they simply beat you. Perhaps this was a case of Belichick outsmarting himself.
In the end, New England had more first downs, plays, passing yards and time of possession than New York, but Matt Light and the Patriots offensive line could not protect Brady. In fact, New England suffered five sacks in the game, which matched a fifth of the total they had allowed all season. The pocket was never sustained for Brady and was another uncharacteristic falter from the Patriots.
All things considered, the Jets were very deserving of the win. However, it was not New York's game for the taking as they were the beneficiaries of poor preparation and performance by the New England Patriots. Hopefully, this game will humble the Patriots in future engagements and remind us all that even the greatest are susceptible to fail.