For the 5th time in their last 6 tries the Patriots have lost in Miami.
As soon as Gostkowski missed that extra point I had an uneasy feeling. Whenever he misses an opening PAT things do not end well for the Pats. The Patriots last two playoff losses included missed Gostkowski PATs on their first touchdown of the game. To add to a nightmare day for Steve, he also missed a 42 yarder that would've given the Patriots a two score lead in the 2nd quarter.
You don't need to be John Madden to know that leaving (at least) 7 points on the field does not usually bode well. Not a winning formula. This Patriots defense is not good enough to survive games where the offense leaves points on the field. Inexcusable mistake my Brady, who otherwise played well to take a sack with no timeouts to end the first half. That the type of mistake you haven't seen in decades by TB12. Brady didn't know the timeout situation which is extremely hard to believe.
I need to reiterate. This is NOT a sky is falling loss, (thankfully the Texans lost too) no major injuries, the offense played really well at times, specials teams (which is a third of the game) outside of the kicker were good; highlighted by two blocked punts.
However his loss does for sure show that two-time defending AFC champion Patriots are mere football mortals; especially on the road. No matter how great Tom Brady plays, if you play sloppy football you can be beat, and usually will be beat.
The loss drops the Patriots to 3-4 away from Gillette Stadium; luckily they are undefeated at home. But there is a high probability the Patriots will not have home-field like usual. They still have to worry about getting a bye, making next week's game against the Steelers a virtual must win. A loss could have the Patriots end up at the 4 seed playing the Chargers (or possibly Chiefs) in the wild-card round.
In all my years as a Patriots fan, I don't think I can remember a more shocking loss given where the game was. Obviously shit like 18-1 is more shocking, but I mean in a vacuum, the Pats lost in Miami, something they've done 10 times with Brady. By no means does this mean the Patriots can't win the Super Bowl. Who knows in a Super Bowl DVD we could see a segment of how this loss became a turning point?
This game was won. Simple as that. That's what blows. Yes, the Patriots played poorly, but they were one play away from coming out of Miami with a win. That's what the Patriots have had in their bag of tricks for nearly twenty years, ugly wins in games they let teams hang around in. Then they give up a miracle play thanks to some lackadaisical football. Not something you see out of this team. Why the fuck was Kyle Van Noy playing zone around the line of scrimmage? Stephon GIlmore basically just was checking his text out there. Nothing about that play defensively makes any fucking sense. It was like the guys out there all just assumed someone else would make a play. Nobody did, and (for now) the Miami Dolphins playoff hopes are very much alive. This is where the Patriots lack of speed, or any sort of defensive play-makers is missed greatly.
I just can't believe they allowed some bullshit lateral touchdown. It'd be one thing if was a loss like last year where they were outplayed from whistle-to-whistle. But to lose a game by allowing the longest play from scrimmage in league history is tough to swallow.
PREACHHHHHHHHH Mike Reiss!!
Belichick coached teams pride themselves on situational football, and on that play they sure were lacking situational awareness. I didn't realize at the time that McCourty was off the field when Gronk was inserted to defend a potential Hail Mary. Normally I don't really have an issue with putting large, athletic pass catchers back to knock shit down. I've seen guys like Randy Moss and Julio Jones make interceptions in those very situations. I'm not as mad about Gronk being in, as I am that Devin was out.
But if you're gonna do that I'd expect it in a spot where a Hail-Mary is possible, not when the ball on the Miami 31 yard-line.
Despite a solid game by Gronk, he still doesn't seem like himself, or nearly as explosive as he once was. Even though Josh Johnson somehow scored a touchdown today, 2011 was a LONG time ago. The days where Gronk is the best athlete on the field are over. It felt like an over-thinking, trying to be cute mistake. Don't take out arguably your best defensive player on the most critical point in the game. That's just how I would do things.
Obviously losing, especially in that fashion fucking sucks, but to see Gronk get exposed like that broke my heart. He's one of my favorite athletes of all-time, but this year has shown that injuries (and even age) are starting to catch up to him. Gronk of 2 years ago makes that play. I really would not be shocked to see him gone in 2019 given how Belichick does things and his lack of being "Gronk".