FanPost

Pride and Preference Cost New England: It wasn't Seattle that stopped NE's Running game on Sunday.

To be clear, Seattle played an excellent game and deserved the W more then New England on Sunday. Especially when you consider execution in crunch time.

But to say, think or believe that Seattle made New England one dimensional is a mistake.

As some of you may know I am an extreme proponent of a steady run game being key to New England's success in January and February. As we've seen this year a more balanced attack seems to be very promising for the Pats has been frustrating for defenses.

What happened on Sunday certainly had a lot to do with Seattle's D, but it had much more to do with New England's preference to pass for easy yards vs run for the hard ones. And when it came down to crunch time, this cost them dramatically. Stats & Opinion post jump

From NFL.com's game analysis, here is my break down of Pats offensive drives:

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Drive run pass r% sr pts
1 2 3 40% 0 Punt
2 0 6 0% 0 7
3 6 8 43% 4 7
4 2 8 20% 1 3
5* 0 5 0% 0 Punt
6 3 4 43% 2 3
7 2 4 33% 1 Int
8 3 8 27% 3 Int
9 4 3 57% 2 3
10 2 5 29% 2 Punt
11 2 1 67% 0 Punt
Totals 26 55 32% 15 23

Notes:

r% - percentage of running plays per drive

sr - successful runs. Runs of 3 or more yards

Summary:

Of the Pats 26 rushing plays, 15 or 57% were successful. That is hardly having your running game shut down. Seattle's defense is certainly very good and played very well - but this is simply not sticking with what is working.

Certainly through the course of this game the passing game was working well and presented the higher % for success - but that is not an excuse to become as one dimensional as the Pats became, especially when you consider the general success they had running.

What I see is McDaniels and perhaps Brady's deferring to pride in their ability to pass and preference to pass vs in game data and effectively managing a game to a W.

Consider that the Pats had 5 offensive drives after taking a 20-10 lead.

- In these 5 drives, with a two score lead, the Patriots had 8 successful runs in 13 attempts. That is 60% of the time you are running the ball you are gaining 3 or more yards.

- Yet of those drives there were only 2 where they ran more then the passed! (One results in the final 3 points, the other was the incredibly uncreative "power running" formation to kill the clock - which is another conversation for a different day.)

What am I missing here? Did the pats get bullied into abandoning the run or they really still this Pass happy? Who is watching the game in the box and sending down in game adjustments and stats?

The ability to be clutch or un-clutch shouldn't even be a factor in this game. Pats had the lead, had control of the game and all indications are they could have been much more balanced in their attack.

Maintaining offensive balance would have achieve many, many good things:

- Maintained momentum for the Pats, kept Wizkid Wilson in his shell.

- Allow the Pats Oline to develop confidence and begin to wear on the Seattle D

- Slowed down the Seattle D and kept them honest on TEs, Welker and all short/intermediate routes

- Opened up the opportunity for play action late in game where it is most lethal.

I'm sure there are more benefits, but this is long enough.

My general point is much like the Ravens game earlier this year, the Patriots in ability to close games late is directly related to their ability to stay balanced and employ a significant running game throughout the game.

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The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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