If Stephen Gostkowski had hit that 42 yard field goal as time expired yesterday, everyone would be talking about what a great comeback it was, and how this team “finds a way to win.” Instead we’re looking at a startling upset. But, in the long run I doubt it’s really going to make much of a difference. At 1-1 the Patriots are still in first place in their division (all 4 teams are 1-1), and the entire AFC has just three undefeated teams remaining. Not to mention that last year the Giants were only 9-7 (and the year before that the Packers 10-6) in the regular season before going on to win the Superbowl. So in reality I don’t think the final outcome of today’s game will end up being an issue down the road.
But, what does concern me is the Patriots lack of aggression on offense. This is a team that I expected to throw the ball all over the place and march up and down the field at will. Unfortunately they seem to have no confidence in their ability to do that. With 6 seconds to go in the first half they punted on 4th and 4 from the Arizona 47. What do you have to lose by going for it there? Later with 12 minutes to go and trailing by 11 they punted on 4th and 5 from the Cardinal’s 43 yard line. If you want to win the game, that’s a first down you have to go and get.
And finally, after being handed the ball on the Arizona 30 yard line with a minute to go, the Pats were content to run out the clock and settle for the 42 yard field goal. I had a very bad feeling about this as it was happening. Gostkowski had already bailed them out from 46, 34, 51, and 53 yards; to expect him to do it again felt like tempting fate. Time and time again this game was sitting there for the taking, but New England’s offense was reluctant to do so.
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