BOSTON (CBS) – OK, a show of hands — how many of you thought you were watching a foreign film last night? One with subtitles that, for some inexplicable reason, didn’t show up on the screen, leaving us all to wonder, “What the hell is going on??!!”
The New England Patriots not making plays down the stretch, in crunch time?! Are you kidding me?!
Dare I say they (No! Don’t say it!) … uh … well, I can’t bring myself to say it but it starts with a ‘c’ and ends with a ‘hoked.’
Granted, the New York Giants are a huge reason why the Patriots will not wake up this morning as Super Bowl XLVI champions. The Giants are a superb football team with incredibly talented players and a highly successful head coach. Unlike Super Bowl XLII, where poor officiating (see: lack of holding call on Richard Seymour as NYG’s offensive lineman strangled him so he could not sack Eli Manning on the pass to David Tyree) and luck (see: same play, conclusion) led to the Giants victory, the Giants played well enough to be called Super Bowl champions.
But the plays were there to be made for New England.
Some of the gaffes and miscues will be more memorable than others because of the game situation they occurred in. Namely, “fish-or-cut-bait” time. However, on the NFL’s biggest stage, the mistakes were many and culprits abound from players to coaches and from veterans to near-rookies.
Let’s start with the very first play from scrimmage for the Patriots. Intentional grounding in the end zone. Safety. Two points to the Giants and they get the ball back. Do you pin those two points on Tom Brady? I think you have to. He’s been around long enough to know that his throw constituted intentional ground. Brain far… I mean, hiccup No. 1.
Let us not forget Too Many Men on the Ice, or the equivalent thereof. You wait until the Super Bowl for Brain Hiccup No. 2? I don’t recall the Patriots defense being whistled for too many men on the field this season but I may be wrong, like my prediction on the game.
And then, the coup de grace(s). Dropped passes from Deion Branch, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez in the closing minutes. Welker’s drop will be singled out because if he makes the catch, there is a high probability the Patriots become Super Bowl champions. That, however, was not guaranteed and people should remember this. Not guaranteed at all. But the Patriots would be sitting pretty with a first down in the Giants’ red zone with less than four minutes remaining, and driving with momentum and one timeout left for New York.
No, there are plenty of plays and situations to point out in Super Bowl XLVI that the Patriots could have made and didn’t.
And that is not the Patriots’ way. It is all so … foreign. This loss might sting more and last longer than the last one. That’s going to leave a mark.
You can hear Walt Perkins’ Sports Updates weekday mornings on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 am and follow him on twitter @walt_perkins.