And another Patriots season comes to a disappointing end on a big stage. No excuses here though, the Ravens were the better team. They proved it twice this season. Once they gave up trying to run the ball and just attacked the Patriots defense through the air they had their way with them.
If you want to look for an easy excuse you could say No Gronk + No Talib + No Chandler = No Super Bowl, and there’s no question that the Patriots were not at full strength.
But as just a football fan it was an impressive effort from the Ravens. I thought the Patriots were better than both Giants Super Bowl teams, but I don’t think they’re better than the Ravens.
The Patriots enter the offseason and must first figure out what to do with Wes Welker. Will they be able to sign him to a two or three year deal? Or is it time to move in a different direction? The offense certainly looked like they never came back out of the locker room after halftime. Perhaps it is time to evolve a bit.
On defense the Patriots will have to figure out how to better defend the middle of the field against the pass. They were killed there once again. They also must get more pass rush. The return of Chandler Jones should help, but Rob Ninkovich, Trevor Scott, Justin Francis and Jermaine Cunningham were just not getting it done tonight.
Hats off to the Ravens on an impressive victory. They might’ve been old and tired but they played like champions and deserve to hoist the AFC Champs trophy.
Also hats off to the Patriots for another thrilling ride. It’s a disappointment not to make it back to the Super Bowl, but they certainly gave it their all in every game they played. It’s just unfortunate that they couldn’t put forth a better effort, especially in the second half. But every problem and flaw we knew about the Patriots was exposed tonight and they must find a way this offseason to improve those.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has followed the blog this season. We appreciate all the support and it’s interacting with Pats fans from around the world that really makes all the fun.
I am already looking forward to that September day when Gronk is back to full health and there’s a new collection of talent on both sides of the ball to be excited about. Until then we’ll be here all offseason with free agency, draft and every thing else to help us all get through the bitter months without football.
Opening day will be here before we know it.