Unfortunately, these are not the patriots of last year or the year before. Why? Because their offense has matured, but their defense has fallen apart. The Pats were able to overcome injuries and play as a team in the past, but their strength was (in the first SB year) their special teams and (always) their defense. Today, however, after seeing last night, we as members of patriots nation have to realize that too many injuries have brought the Pats low.
With Seymour out once again and without Tyrone Poole and Rodney Harrison, the Patriots defense was shredded by the Colts offense. And I have to admit, for once, the Colts kept their heads by continuing their scoring ways. If they had settle down, and tried to run the clock by running more, I think the Pats would have made it a closer game (possibly even come back?) by the end. But by continuing their aerial attack against the weakened backfield, they were able to keep the Patriots offense off the field.
The offense did a good job last night, putting up 21 points. And they could have scored more, if they had some more time to do so. The Colts time of possession was 36:41. By holding on to the ball, and capitalizing on that time, Indianapolis was able to contain the Patriots offense. The turnover ratio was also lopsided in favor of Indy.
Now having said all of that, I would not go on to say the Pats have swung the other way, either. The Pats have a very good team they can put on the field every week with pride. They will be in the playoffs, they may even run the table from this point out. But last night I lost that feeling we all had the past couple of years. That mindset that said, hey, they're still going to win this game.
BTW, I don't think the Colts are the class of the field, however. Their defense has improved, but not by that much. The Patriots weren't balanced enough to match up with what they were doing, but when Indy faces up with a better D, I would expect them to falter. If I were to guess at when their first loss will be, I would have to say in 2 weeks at Cincinnati. They will, of course, be in the playoffs. The will most likely have the bye week, too. But I can see other teams knocking them out.
Patriots, Indianapolis, Colts, NFL