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Coming up small in big situations

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by E Belichick Unum, Feb 7, 2012.

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  1. E Belichick Unum

    E Belichick Unum Rookie

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    Since 2007 the Patriots have consistently played small in big games. Their offense has been cautious, TB12 has been ordinary. I thought that maybe they had gotten past that tendency this year, but when it counted they failed to live up to the moment, but they showed that they are close against the Jets.

    Against the Jets, in the second game, they were HUGE! They played flawless football, beat the hell out of the Jets on both sides of the ball and generally played like Champions, making us forget that they played small the game before against the Giants. Against the Ravens they played well, but still allowed them to drive the length of the field to miss a game tying field goal. Brady played well between the 20's, but in the money zone on the field he stank, and the bomb was a horrible decision on his part, as bad as any I have seen him make throughout his career. Against the Giants in the SB, the Pats played well at points, their defense played very well for 55 minutes, but when the money was on the line they choaked up a chicken bone.

    I bring this pain up to point out how badly Belichick has managed the roster and how flawed this team has become. On offense they have two tight ends who are All Pro quality, Wes Welker, despite his drop, is the real deal and the rest of the skill players are Jags. On defense their front four are pretty good, their libebacking core is solid but slow and their secondary is the worst in the league. Their pass rush disappears for long periods of the game. If not for the coaching genius of Belichick this would be a 4 and 12 team, maybe 6 and 10.

    Welker dropped a ball that would have won the Super Bowl, but Brach dropped one right after that would have given the Pats a first down. Bardy launches a bomb to Gonk, and he lets the LB intercept it instead of making sure he couldn't. Hernandez drops a pass across the middle on the last drive wasting 5 seconds. Belichick challenges a catch that all replays show was a catch. Mankins gives up a sack in the last minute of the game. All of those are examples people playing small in big situations.

    I am really high on the Pats future, but this team was so flawed that even making the playoffs was a miracle. The defense needs to be rebuilt and the offense needs a deep threat, and maybe a running back who can, you know, actually run the ball. Josh McDanials came up small in the last Super Bowl, so here hoping that he learned from that failure. When the Pats won the first time, the play calling came up big, and the bit players on the team delivered under pressure. The next two had a defense that allowed the offense to play conservatively when it had to and rely on field goals at the end. This team has a bad defense and the play calling was pretty timid.

    We are at a fork between really good and just ok. The choice is for GM Bill to make. Two firsts and two seconds are a lot of ammo, if Bill decides to use them. This is a year to use them all, and maybe trade next years for the missing link.
  2. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    The part I disagree with is calling skill players beyond Gronk, Hernandez, and Welker JAGS. I wish we had JAGS. If Ochocinco, Edelman, Price, Tate, Underwood, or anyone else we've tried to put on the field was at least an average receiver, we'd be a much better team. Gronk's injury showed just how close we teetered from being a very unformidable offense all season. You just can't consistently win when you only have three options in the passing game. The Packers and Saints had like seven deep each. It's a miracle that we got to the SB, although both strong defenses (NYG, Baltimore) made our offense look pretty pitiful.

    Edit: I forgot about Branch. Well, it should say something that I forgot he was on the team. I'd say he is probably below average overall. Wouldn't call him a liability, but frankly our offense would be more effective with either a burner or a tall guy on the other side. Branch is Welker without the quickness or YAC ability. I think he is done.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  3. E Belichick Unum

    E Belichick Unum Rookie

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    If I did I will edit. What I meand was that they were very fgood, and the rest of the skill players are Jags.

    Here is what I wrote:

    "On offense they have two tight ends who are All Pro quality, Wes Welker, despite his drop, is the real deal and the rest of the skill players are Jags."
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  4. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    ... all that written...

    and yet they're now considered the best team in football.
  5. blackglass3

    blackglass3 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's just a scary mentality that is lodged somewhere in the locker room. In truly huge situations, they wilt. Now in 09 the team had a cencerous locker room that had alot of soft veterans hoping a returning Tom Brady would win them a Super Bowl ring. I thought after the big purge that offseason would right the ship; but again in 10 the Jets disrespected the team for almost two weeks and then marched right into Foxboro and punched the Pats in the mouth. The Patriots response was to curl up in a ball and turn over. I thought the reason was just the D being very young, the O installing a new offense since Moss had left, and that playoff game would toughen them up. Now this season; we were down and ripe for the picking against the Jets the second time but the Pats whipped them and showed a mental toughness we hadn't seen in a while from them. The repeated comebacks from being down double digits was encouraging, and finally getting the playoff monkey off our back made me think this team was finally ready for the spotlight again.

    However, the AFCCG was really a game we had no buisness winning. Sterling Moore made a season saving play on that non TD and we got lucky on the FG miss...but the game never should have gotten to that point. We had our boot on the Ravens throat and unlike in the regualr season instead of going for the kill we went into our "Don't Blow It" gameplan.

    I'd have thought the team learned their lesson after that and it was an abberition, but then the exact same situation comes up Sunday. Team goes down early and comes marching back to be up 17-9 with 25 minutes to go in the game. And then the entire team starts playing not to lose and as usual, the opposite happens. Soft defense and uninspired playcalling on both sides of the ball.

    I don't know what the issue is or how to fix it (and just for the record; eliminating Brady, Belichick, or Welker is NOT the answer). I wonder if it a culture of Yes men that surround Belichick these days...all the guys there were brought up by him. Weis and Crennel had the sack to tell him when something wasn't working and I wonder if the coaches there aren't up for doing that because they are so appreciative of Belichick giving them their "shot".

    I know winning a Super Bowl is a very hard task and only one team does it every year. I know that winning anything in the NFL is hard. I know that the consistency we have seen with this franchise these last 12 years are incredible. But for 5 of the last 7 years (2008 we didn't make the playoffs and the 2009 loss to the Ravens was a complete beating) we have witnessed the Patriots in their last game of the season losing because the O never stuck a fork in the opponent and D couldn't come up with the plays when the game was on the line.
  6. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    The defense has choked in big games this year,last year,the year before ect: ect: all the way back to 2004

    .....the running game in the playoffs are a disaster,have been since Dillon left and when you add the two together you see why NE has not won the SB since 2004.

    I am tired of seeing the burden and blame on Brady's shoulders...he deserves none of it most of the time and certainly did not deserve it on Sunday.

    People blame Brady and Welker for key mistakes in the 4th quarter of Sunday's game...what people fail to acknowledge is that Brady had given his defense 8 points in which to hold the lead in the early parts of the 3rd quarter and once again they couldn't stop an Elite QB from slicing and dicing their way back into the game and back into the lead.
  7. Spiral

    Spiral PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This is a team built to withstand the rigors of a 16-game season. By having a team with depth, the Patriots are able to play well late in the season, when many other teams have been decimated by injuries. Once you get into the playoffs, however, you're generally not playing teams that have been decimated by injuries. You usually end up playing the teams that have been lucky enough to avoid significant injuries. Against those teams at that stage of the season, the talent level of the Patriots doesn't compare favorably. For a while, the Patriots had a few of those types of players. Now they have two, maybe three: Brady, Wilfork and Gronkowski. That's why you end up with guys like Tracy White, James Ihedigbo, and Sterling Moore starting in the Superbowl.

    The Krafts have stated that their goal is to be competitive every year. That's OK, but you're giving something up in exchange. Take Thomas Dimitroff for example. Last year, he went for it--traded a boatload of picks for Julio Jones. BB told him on the day of the draft that he wouldn't do it, and that Jonathan Baldwin was as good as Jones (doubtful). Maybe the Jones trade will work out and maybe it won't, but that's an example of the type of risk-taking that either gets a guy fired, or gets him a ring. Kraft said last week during an interview that you really have to take risks to succeed in business, but the Patriots seem to take the opposite approach.
  8. JackBauer

    JackBauer Rookie

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    So you're blaming the defense everyone knew was held together with duct tape and string for not stopping an (in your words) "elite QB from slicing and dicing their way back into the game"? Come on.

    Anyway, I think people are over thinking this to some extent. On a 13-3 team that just barely lost the Super Bowl, we're complaining about how "badly Belichick has managed the roster and how flawed this team has become" and the "scary mentality that is lodged somewhere in the locker room." I'm loathe to imagine what people will be writing when this team starts going 5-11 again.

    Really, I think most of this you can chalk up to the vagaries of the NFL. Ostensibly, both NO and GB were better teams than the NYG. We probably should have lost to the Ravens, but got lucky and made it to the Super Bowl. Only on the biggest stage, our luck turned the other way.

    There are only a handful of teams that have managed to remain as consistently successful as the Patriots for a reason: because it's insanely hard to do, and relies to a great extent on luck and good fortune. Some years, BB's FA acquisitions are a complete flop; others yield Rodney Harrison and lead to a Super Bowl.

    That said, I hope BB is able to improve his hit rate on FA acquisitions this offseason (recent drafts have improved since the late 2000s). That, to me, has been a major factor in why we haven't been able to sustain the levels of pure talent on the roster that we had during the Super Bowl years (we missed on a couple of successive drafts and have largely whiffed on some significant FAs). If there's any offseason in which BB should be able to redeem his record on this account, it's this one.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  9. BadMoFo

    BadMoFo Rookie

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    All that is good, but I think many of us expect this team to win games were we hold the opponents to 21 or 17 points. As far as the running game, I think we can really be an elite running team if we wanted to be. For some reason, we just forget about that aspect of the game because we have an all-world QB and it's much easier to gain yardage that way. And I don't mean elite as in the traditional sense where one back gets 25-30 carries a game, I mean sharing the load in the backfield, using end arounds, etc.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  10. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    Man, the defense fell apart in the Carolina Super Bowl as well, dont you remember? They were in danger of losing.

    Carolina went away from that game kicking themselves for screwing up the 2 point situation and for Kasay kicking the ball out of bounds. That could have easily been a loss.

    I think the Indy game was lost for a variety of reasons (Brown OPI, no field goal attempt, bogus PI on Hobbs, ridiculous non-PI call on a mugging of Caldwell in the end zone, heat turned up on exhausted flu-ridden team, etc.)

    I'm not sure much has changed at all other than having a defense that's just not as good, but let's not pretend our stellar defense didn't give up 29 points in 31 minutes to Carolina.
  11. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers Rookie

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    So basically every loss is a 'big' game, while every win is a meaningless game?

    If the Pats never won a single 'big' game, then how the hell did they make the playoffs - much less make it to the Super Bowl?

    If the only thing you focus on is losses and ignore the wins, then of course things are going to look horrible.

    I know Sunday's loss is disappointing, but let's try to have at least an ounce of perspective here. 97% of all teams end up not winning the Super Bowl each and every year.
  12. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That said, there's a difference between taking a high-risk/high-to-enormous-reward gamble and a low-risk/moderate-to-high-reward gamble.

    The Pats have generally shied away from the former, but not at all from the latter (e.g., Haynesworth, Moss, Dillon).
  13. blackglass3

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    That's fine, but 97% of teams do not lose the exact same way over and over again.
  14. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Rookie

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    there really is not much that separates the pats from at least 2 of their SB wins and SB losses........2 of them were won with FG's in the end and 2 of them were lost with TD's in the end

    the difference? I think the biggest one is the decrease in pocket awareness by brady. maybe its because of the current scheme, but I'll tell you that the current giants defense would notfare well against weis' dink and dunk. the pats were effective on those kinds of plays against the giants ...... the dump offs to the RB's the quick outs to branch........if they put more of an emphasis on those kinds of plays, then over time, the bigger plays open up. it just seems now that brady spends more time looking for the 15-20 yard throws......

    I'm hoping that at the end of brady's career that they may revert to that kind of execution. I think he would be better at it now than then.

    I also think that kind of offense can be staffed with cheaper players which means they cna go back to investing in defense and sticking with the recipe that won them 3 SB's
  15. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Rookie

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    the fact that the pats have lost to the giants in nearly identical ways the last 3 games should set off some flags. very little separated the win from the loss
  16. MP-Logick

    MP-Logick Rookie

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    David Tyree, Jake Ballard, and Mario Manningham. None are great receivers. But in all three games, they made a huge catch that turned out to be the difference. Welker and Branch couldn't do the same.

    In our previous Super Bowls, David Patten, Troy Brown, young Deion Branch, and David Givens all made those clutch catches. To me that's been the difference between winning or losing right there.
  17. PatsSox363804

    PatsSox363804 Rookie

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    There's really not that much difference between the early teams and these teams as far as how the games play out, I mean not really. The biggest difference is that in those games the offense put up enough points so when the opposition scored at the end it was only tied and if mcnabb doesn't get sick maybe Philly scores quicker in sb 39. The other difference is that they got bounces and took advantage of mistakes but more importantly Brady wasn't throwing picks. Take out the Denver game this year and Brady is basically even in TD int ratio since 2005. It's like ever since he threw that pick 6 to Bailey and took his first playoff loss something changed, he only had 3 picks in 10 games before that. Granted he's asked to do more now but for someone with his career numbers that stat is odd. We really have become the colts of the early 2000's.
  18. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Rookie

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    #24 Jersey

    Over the past few years, 3 games pop out at me that go against OP's theory. Monday night in Baltimore, The opener against Buffalo, and the Cowboys game this season. Those 3 drives really stand out at me as the team as a whole coming through in the clutch. On defense the stop against Indy last year, and the stand this year against Baltimore stand out.

    None of these came in the big game but if you go back to SB42 the drive that gave us the lead is an example but the defense gave it up at the end.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  19. PatsSox363804

    PatsSox363804 Rookie

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    If that has been 2003 belichick has vinatieri kick the 48 harder and then who knows how the rest of the game plays out. Also someone not named Pierre woods is there to cover that fumble.

    In last nights game there's no way Mcginest or Vrabel are offsides nor is there a chance law and Harrison would have had an extra guy in the secondary to negate a turnover.

    It's stuff like that that we did in 01, 03, and 04 and not in 07 or Sunday. Just a few key plays in all of those games.
  20. letekro

    letekro Rookie

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    That 2003 defense was phenomenal. The Mohammed TD was fluky and Rodney and Geno getting hurt led to their final TD. That was a great defense. Just a crazy game.

    Let's not forget how horrible the offense was in Indy in the second half. Their longest drive of the half was 34 yards (!) and that was the last one that ended with the Marlin Jackson interception. One sustained drive could have given the defense time to regroup.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  21. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Rookie

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    well, another minute on the clock in either game and we could be talking about both differently....also, the pats executed with patience throughout the game, preferring the other team to make the mistakes.

    did brady ever cause a safety in one of those wins?

    brady had a 70 rating against the raiders in 2001, his first playoff game......he played better in that game than he did last sunday.

    watch both games.......tell me where he looks scared

    this team now plays like they are afraid someone is going to take something away.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  22. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    97% of teams never get in that position in the first place......:rolleyes:
  23. blackglass3

    blackglass3 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Very true, but that doesn't negate my point in any way. Getting hurt is great. Losing there sucks. Knowing the team is going to cough the game up due to learned behavior is the worst.

    What is the definition of insanity? Repeating the same process over and over and expecting different results.
  24. eom

    eom Rookie

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    in your imagination
  25. MoLewisrocks

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    Someone mentioned on the radio that the undersized JAG known as Patten made the same exact catch Welker didn't for a critical first down for a touchdown in the EZ for Bledsoe and Brady in the 2001 AFCC and SB games... Actually in both cases he was twisting to adjust and the throw was even a little higher plus he had to keep his feet inbounds, too. It was a different time then, before mustache growing sillyness and twitter accounts so maybe it was easier to just focus on making plays.
  26. condon84

    condon84 Rookie

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    It boils down to making critical plays in pressure situations. Back then we had key players making critical plays like Brady, Brown, Law, Bruschi, Harrison McGinest, etc. Even supporting players made key contributions like Patten, Givens, Smith and more importantly did their jobs in critical drives. Those game winning drives orchestrated by Brady in the biggest games happened because eveybody did their job from our OL to our receivers. With our team presently, we seem to have a talented roster, but we no longer are able to make the critical plays when we needed to. Mankins whiffing on that block, Welker dropping that pass, Brady under throwing Gronk, and no one in our defense stepping up to make one last game ending play on the Giants last drive. Both our defense and offense just lack that extra something that has prevented us from winning it all.
  27. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers Rookie

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    So the Patriots should change their entire structure to specifically beat a team that is in the other conference?

    Belichick and Kraft's plan has been to build a competitive team every year, one that has a legitimate chance to get in to the playoffs, and roll the dice from there. Once you get in to the playoffs it's a crapshoot. Consider some of the recent SB winners: 9-7 Giants; 6th seed 10-6 Packers; 9-7 Cardinals were one play away from winning it all; 10-6 5th seed Giants; etc.

    Learned behavior? They're 29-6 in the last two seasons. If there is anything they have learned it is how to win, not lose. If the only thing you focus on is those few losses then the only thing you will see is those losses. Obviously there are areas such as pass coverage that need to be improved upon, but this team is far superior to the 2008-09 teams.

    If the Pats lost in the Super Bowl the way the Bills did from 1991-93 or the way the Broncos did from 1986-89, then I would say that there is indeed a need for a fundamental shift in the way the team is built. Three losses over five years by a total of 11 points? I don't think so.
  28. Harry Yelreh

    Harry Yelreh Rookie

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    If Tom Brady plays ordinary Sunday, the Patriots lose by at least 3 TDs.

    If that sounds laughable, I'd point out that the league MVP played a much more ordinary game for a much more complete team and lost on his home field to the Giants by 17.
  29. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 Rookie

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    i love me some wes walker but the guy has only had more then 60 yards in one of the 7 playoffs games he has played in with the pats, need to find a way to run the football in big games
  30. TomPatriot

    TomPatriot PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Funny thing about the OP. The skill player who is the real deal dropped a ball that hit him in the hands, a play he should make no matter what Bedard says.
    Manningham was just a jag in NY until he made a catch he never makes.
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