While most of us were prepared for the fact that the Patriots season might come to an end yesterday, I don’t think anyone forsaw the first quarter dismantling that the Baltimore Ravens laid on Tom Brady and the Patriots. It was 24-0 Ravens seemingly in the blink of an eye, as the Ravens dominated and the Patriots collapsed in perfect sync. To their credt, the Patriots fought to the end, but they had dug themselves too deep a hole, and the result was a 33-14 season ending loss for New England, which also saw the Patriots suffer their first home loss of the season, and their first home playoff loss of the Belichick/Brady era. It seemed to be the end of a lot of things at Gillette yesterday. The aftermath isn’t going to be pretty.
If your gut wasn’t churning already, Chris Warner has the Gut Check on Patriots Daily.
As you look below, you’ll see that there are a lot of links, a ton of coverage of this debacle. To help you sort it out, I’ll going to pick out the top five this morning, and list them here at the top (They’re all also linked in context below) – these articles are all free of the nastiness, the victory laps, the “end of an era” declarations, and focus on what went wrong this season and yesterday, and what needs to be done going forward.
Team in transition just not tough enough – Mike Reiss says that this team has a lot of work to do, starting now, if they hope to return to championship form.
Patriots’ big picture isn’t pretty – Eric McHugh says that the Patriots need to take a good, long, hard look at themselves in the proverbial mirror.
Don’t be so fast to nail the coffin – Steve Solloway says that those declaring the Patriots dead need to get a grip. The season is finished, not the franchise.
Edelman should be face of Pats’ future – Bill Burt says that the Patriots have a gem in Julian Edelman, and he will be a big part of their future.
There’s a big issue on tap: Wilfork – The Globe notebook wraps up a lot of stuff from yesterday.
Now here’s the rest, the good, bad and the ugly:
Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots buried in a first quarter avalanche by the Ravens. Adam Kilgore says that yesterday was a performance never seen before by these Patriots. Shalise Manza Young has the loss leaving the Patriots and their fans stunned and silent. Andy Vogt recaps a historic beatdown at Gillette. Jennifer Toland has the once-promising Patriots season ending with a thud. Jonathan Comey has an up-and-down season ending with plenty of regrets for the Patriots. Mark Farinella calls this perhaps the least-inspired effort of Bill Belichick’s coaching tenure. Tom E. Curran says that the end is here, the dynasty is over, etc etc etc. Mike Lowe has the Patriots going one and done this postseason. David Pevear says that while Bill Belichick’s legacy is safe, he and his team should still be embarrassed. Steve Krause has the Patriots going out with a whimper. Tom King says that Baltimore dominated from start to finish.
Mike Reiss says that this loss shows that the Patriots have a lot of work to do to return to contender status. Dom Amore has the Patriots decade of dominance ending quietly. Jeff Howe says that early mistakes did in the Patriots yesterday. Eric McHugh says that the big picture is not pretty for this franchise. Glen Farley says that throughout this season the Patriots were more pretender than contender. Christopher Price has the end coming quietly for the Patriots. Brian MacPherson has the Patriots season crashing to a halt yesterday. Karen Guregian says that it will be a long time before the next Super Bowl appearance by this franchise unless a better job fixing mistakes is done. Curran says that these Patriots just weren’t good enough.
Despite the protests of Tom Brady, Jeff Jacobs believes that the Patriots era is over. With all that went wrong yesterday, Ron Borges blames it all on Randy Moss. You can guess what Dan Shaughnessy has for his theme today. Jim Donaldson says that while most agreed the Patriots weren’t true Super Bowl contenders, most though they were better than this. Tim Weisberg blames Brady for the loss, and says that his passer rating was the worst of his playoff career…worse than a 2006 divisional playoff loss to the Chargers. Whoops. Kirk Minihane has the legend of Tom Brady taking another hit yesterday. Michael Felger says that the entire season was one to forget for the Patriots. Krause insists that Patriots fans deserved better answers from Belichick following the game. Howard Bryant says that this loss should really shake the Patriots right to their foundation.
Bill Burt says that the one silver lining for the Patriots yesterday, and perhaps only hope for the future is Julian Edelman. Dan Duggan has Edelman making plays despite clearly being in pain. Monique Walker has Kevin Faulk doing his best to rally his teammates yesterday, but it wasn’t enough. Farinella says that Faulk and Edelman were the only bright spots for the Patriots yesterday. Steve Solloway says that people shouldn’t be so fast to nail the Patriots’ coffin shut just yet. King believes that at some point this team will become the New England Patriots again.
Albert R. Breer says that Tom Brady just could never get into a groove without Wes Welker. Steve Buckley has Tom Brady refusing to use injuries as an excuse for his play. Bob Ryan says that Brady may deny it, but it is clear to him that the QB is playing very hurt. Donaldson has Brady saying that the Patriots will be back in the future. Vogt has Brady already looking ahead to next year. Rich Garven says that the loss of Welker sealed the Patriots fate. Chris Forsberg has Brady not interested in making excuses after this one. Danny Picard says that this was not the Tom Brady New England fans are used to seeing in the postseason. Howe says that this was a preseason-like performance.
Dan Ventura has the Ravens achieving their goal of “no free access” for the Patriots offense. Peter Abraham says that the Ravens defense was able to do exactly what they wanted to do, all day long. Michael Vega has Ray Rice sparking the Ravens from the very first play from scrimmage. Vega has Mark Clayton getting a bit of redemption for his drop in week four. Robert Lee has the Ravens seizing control from the very start. Peter Gobis has the Ravens feasting on big plays.
Hector Longo checks in with his two-minute drill wrapup of the game. Duggan examines the Best & Worst from yesterday. Ventura looks at the quick TD from Ray Rice. Rich Thompson has that run as the play of the game. John Hill has reactions from the fans. Lee provides postgame analysis from both sides of the ball.
Rapoport’s notebook has Adalius Thomas believing he’s played his last game as a Patriot. The Globe notebook has Vince Wilfork as the biggest situation facing the Patriots this offseason. Young’s notebook also featured Wilfork as the lead topic. Vogt’s notebook says that the Patriots could look very different next season. Farley’s notebook has more on what could’ve been Wilfork’s last game as a Patriot. Toland’s notebook says that the future is murky for several Patriots veterans. The S-T notebook has the boo-birds making rare appearance in Foxborough. Gobis’ notebook has Rice getting the Ravens cooking early. Lowe’s notebook has more on Wilfork’s contract status.