I know there is a formal postgame discussion thread, but wanted to jot down some thoughts while my head was clear (if that ever happens). First, congrats to the Broncos fans. Your team deserved to win the game. Any time you come back from 10 down in the 2nd half, hold the other team scoreless in the 2nd half, and put together a 98 yard TD drive you deserve to win the game. It is clear that McDaniels has you mentally tough, not giving up, making adjustments, and ready to play all 60+ minutes. I can't remember feeling this depressed about a game in a while. It's not that we lost. I would have been just as upset if we had won. It's not the result that bothers me, it's how we played. I turned the game off after the 3rd quarter because I couldn't take it anymore. Last week I would have been upbeat even if we had lost because I thought we played well against a top team. This week I would have been just as dejected if we had won, because we played terribly. And there were a number of telling points to take away form that performance. 1. Keys to the game. I had previously posted a thread on my 5 keys to the game: http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/10/280406-5-keys-victory.html #1 on that list was maintaining intensity, focus and aggresiveness on a road trip to Mile High and after a big win against Baltimore. I think we failed miserably. The intensity was noticeably lacking in comparison to the Baltimore game. Frankly, I thought it was lacking all week on this board, with numerous comments suggesting that people were taking this game lightly despite being a road game at Mile High against an undefeated team. I said in that thread that I thought this was a game we should win but also a very loseable game, and we lost it. Of my 5 keys, the only one I thought we did a good job of was stopping Elvis Dumervil the Denver pass rush. I didn't think we had good offensive balance, didn't think we got pressure on defense, and don't think we played well against the Denver receivers, allowing 2 TD catches to Brandon Marshall. 2. 2nd Half Adjustments This is the 3rd game out of 5 where we went into halftime with a lead and were largely shut down in the 2nd half. Two 2nd half shutouts in 5 games bodes very poorly for this team, and we had the opportunity to put both this game and the Baltimore game away with 2nd half offensive execution and failed both times. The fact that opposing defenses are largely stopping us in the 2nd half suggests that our offense is unbalanced and predictable. Today it looked unbalanced and predictable. Also very boring. We had blamed previous poor offensive performances to rustiness by Brady, to getting flustered by pressure, and to injuries. The fact is we just may not be a very good offense. Our play calling stinks, our running game is mediocre at best, and our passing game is predictable and can be stopped. 3. Road Wimps We're 3-2 so far, 3-0 at Foxboro and 0-2 on the road. That's a very bad sign. 5 of our last 8 games come on the road. And, the way we are playing, it looks like we will have to go on the road in the playoffs if we make it that far. Was this a "tough" road game? I think it was a very winnable game, we just didn't play well enough. 4. Inconsistency We just haven't been a very consistent team so far this year. I thought we were getting better after early rust, but we threw a duck egg in this big game. This reminds me a bit of 2005, when we couldn't win 2 games in a row for the first half of the season before finishing 11-5. Not the hallmark of an elite team. The Bottom Line We're 3-2. We have not shown very much consistency so far this season. It looked like we were on the right track after the Atlanta and Baltimore games, but this game was a major regression: lack of balance, predictable and unimaginative play calling, poor execution, lack of aggressiveness on defense, soft zone coverage and no pass rush. We got a lot of lucky breaks and still couldn't put the game away. To have this kind of stinker really makes me question our ability to step it up to consistently perform at an elite level. We have 6 extremely winnable games left: at home against Tennessee, Carolina and Jacksonville; and on the road against Tampa Bay (in London), Buffalo and Houston. None of those teams have looked good. We have 5 fairly (to very) tough games left: at home against Miami and the Jets, and on the road against Indy, New Orleans and Miami (I list Miami as "fairly tough" because they always give us a hard time; the others are very tough games). But we need to show much more consistency in how we play than we have shown over the past 5 games. It's time for a gut check. We are not a first tier team right now. There's plenty of time left, but a long way to go to be a consistently elite team. And we'll probably have to do it the hard way. It's quite possible for us to put a late run together and get hot like Pittsburgh in 2005 or the Giants in 2007, but so far we just don't look consistent enough or good enough to run the table. It's time for a gut check.