Well, the New England Patriots offense has officially hit rock bottom. In a week five loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the unit put up just six points, converted one third down, dropped numerous passes, and failed to tie the game despite being given two great opportunities by the defense.
There were three turning points in this game that dictated the final result:
1. The Bengals' 14 play, 93 yard drive that began in the third quarter and was capped with a BenJarvus Green-Ellis one yard touchdown on 4th and goal with under ten minutes remaining. The drive took precious time off the clock, making a potential Patriots comeback much more difficult.
2. The Patriots drive that stalled within the one. After long completions to Aaron Dobson and Danny Amendola, the Patriots were set up within the one yard line. After a LeGarrette Blount short run for a loss on 1st and goal, the Patriots couldn't connect on back to back pass plays, including a ball that was knocked out of the hands on Julian Edelman on third and goal. The Patriots had to settle for three points and a seven point deficit, which changed the way they played the end of the game.
3. The offense failing to capitalize with two possessions in the final three and a half minutes. Devin McCourty forced a fumble of Bengals rookie Giovani Bernard, which was recovered in Bengal territory by Jerod Mayo. The Patriots would proceed to go three and out. Then, with just under two minutes remaining, the Patriots got the ball back again and got to the Cincinnati 26, but dropped passes and a fatal Adam Jones interception ended all chances of a Patriots victory. The Patriots weren't spectacular on defense in the second half, but they came up with key stops to give the offense a chance, and they just couldn't capitalize.
Despite the negatives, two players deserve some recognition for their amazing performances: Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes. The two linebackers were simply dominant today.
The Patriots will return home to play the Saints in week six. And they'll bring an excellent 4-1 record with them. You never want to overreact from a single game, but there's no doubt that this was a disturbing loss. The Patriots were just completely outplayed by the Bengals. The defense played solid overall, but was bullied on the long touchdown drive. And the offense, was just, well, awful.