Week after week we kept asking "Is this the injury that is going to do the Pats in?", and week after week they responded with a resounding "NO!"
It started in the offseason when the Patriots failed to resign wide receiver Wes Welker who signed with the Denver Broncos. Then during the summer, Aaron Hernandez is accused and arrested for the murder of East Boston man and semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
The Patriots lost their heart and soul of the defense, Vince Wilfork in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons. They would lose Tommy Kelly, tight end Rob Gronkowski again after only playing in seven games. They would lose linebacker Jerod Mayo and finally linebacker Brandon Spikes. Yet they have been able to persevere through it all to get to the AFC Championship Game for the third consecutive year.
But today, the camel's back finally broke when ironically Wes Welker set an illegal pick on cornerback Aquib Talib that went unflagged. Talib left the game after the play and did not return with what was originally diagnosed as a rib injury but was then re-diagnosed with a knee injury.
How big was that injury? Well lets just say that the Broncos punted on their first possession and scored on every drive since then. The Patriots could just not get off the field after Talib's injury. Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas just lit up the Patriots secondary for 400 yards, two touchdowns, and seven catches for 134 yards and one touchdown respectively. That was the difference in the game. The Patriots defense's inability to get off the field which became apparent after the Talib injury.
Brady and the Patriots offense attempted another miracle comeback in the fourth quarter but ultimately came up short. It was a great season and a fun season to watch but Talib's injury in the AFC Championship game was the final straw. It was the injury that proved too much for the Patriots to overcome. This Patriots team was the epitamy of resiliency with all of their miracle comebacks but at the end of the day, as disappointing it is, it just wasn't meant to be.