...at the worst time. All season, the Pats had gotten by with clever gameplans, overachieving, safe ball control, and an opportunistic defense. The sky is not falling, but it was just another huge, missed opportunity, especially with Manning and Brees eliminated. Anyway, first let's stop the overreacting. The primary reason the Pats lost was the Jets played a near-perfect game. Not really sure the Pats would have won even if they'd cut down on their mistakes. It probably would have come down to fourth quarter. The Jets had virtually zero penalties, made some incredible plays all over the field, and basically won every individual matchup. This was very reminiscent of the second half of game 1 at NY. The Jets were built to win now and they did. The Pats were not supposed to win now (or at least that's what we believed just three months ago) and they didn't. Anyway, there were obviously some major errors that made this game lopsided. Brady's INT, Crumpler's drop, Chung's gaffe, etc., but let's face it, we were flat out outplayed, and that's why we point to a few mistakes which could have been less scrutinized had we played well. Here are the areas which have been problematic all season, but which have been pretty much ignored because we kept winning. Let's remember that other parts of the game today were just bad decisions or bad situations to be playing from. They are fixable, but these areas need improvement. 1. Let's remember that the old dynasty was built up front. Seymour. Warren. Wilfork. First round picks. Yes, the Pats had some injuries on the d-line, but this unit is not where it must be. Good isn't good enough. Not sure if Warren will come back to his elite level, but however they need to fix the problem, this is clearly the biggest problem with this team. Having an elite front three was the reason the Pats used have incredible defenses. Belichick can play chess with the best of them when you can pressure the QB with three lineman and get to play around with safeties and linebackers. When the front 3 is average at best, and you play against an o-line like the Jets, you can either let the QB pick you apart, or you can blitz and play single coverage. Obviously, the Seymour trade has hurt us big time, and let's hope that defensive line is the first position addressed in the draft. We need a stud here. And for those who are grumbling about needing an OLB, having a formidable line will make players like Cunningham better, and also make our already fast secondary into a much better unit. It starts up front. 2. All season we kind of wondered how an offense could be so dominant without a true vertical threat. Although Tate was decent for a first-year player (injury last year), one wondered how this team could consistently dominate without a burner. We found out today that an athletic defense can shut down a short, quick passing game. As much as I hate to say it, especially using this term, the Patriots could not "stretch the field." That is why you almost never saw 1 on 1 matchups. The Jets leaked out this week that they wanted to "funnel the Patriots into the middle of the field." Since the Patriots had no way to establish the deep game and take a corner and safety away from the scrum, they were basically led into a giant cluttered area were quickness was neutralized. Hats off to the Jets. Brady apparently did not have any answer for this defense. 3. The loss of Gostowski was actually pretty big. Graham did an admirable job doing what he could. The terribly short kickoffs were a big problem all season, but especially against some special teams aces on the Jets. Field position killed the Pats all day. Let's hope that Gostowski makes a full recovery this offseason; when healthy, he is extremely valuable to this team and enables the special teams unit to play stellar. Against elite defenses, field position is huge.