There's no question about it: the New England Patriots beat themselves today against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Patriots had numerous opportunities to close out the game, and simply couldn't do it. In the team's final five red zone possessions, they put up nine points. Tom Brady threw two second half interceptions. The defense couldn't stop a long throw for the life of them. And the team surrendered a 13 point fourth quarter lead to fall 24-23.
Shocking, to say the least. The Patriots moved the ball up and down the field but kept beating themselves. It was poor clock management and an intentional grounding that cost the team points at the end of the first half. It was suspect play calling and an unwillingness to establish the run that allowed Tom Brady to throw a career high 58 passes. In the second half, the team had clock management issues and personnel issues, and as a result, burned all three of their timeouts.
It was an ugly game all around. And as much as the team outperformed Seattle for three and a half quarters, it's only the final score that counts. And the Patriots really handed Seattle the win. It was an uncharacteristic performance for a normally fundamentally sound Patriots team, and now they stand at just 3-3 through six games.
All three of the Patriots games, in fact, have been last second losses. Which begs the question, what are the Patriots doing wrong in the final minutes that they can't close out games? Over the last two weeks, the Patriots have been outscored 21-3 in the fourth quarter.
There's still a lot of time to turn around the season, and it's not a good practice to overreact to a single loss, but the Patriots have some serious work to go in establishing consistency week to week, quarter to quarter, and drive to drive. The Patriots are as talented a team as any in the NFL, but they simply don't play that way consistently.
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