The New England Patriots lost 30-24 to the Denver Broncos, but this game hurts a lot more than the final score.
Tom Brady can't throw it to himself
The Patriots have lost Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis, and Aaron Dobson. They lost Nate Solder and Ryan Wendell. Danny Amendola is out with a knee injury. The injuries were too much for New England to overcome and they still fought the Broncos down to the wire.
The Patriots rushing attack is seriously concerning
LeGarrette Blount really seems to be struggling to make decisive runs at the line, James White lacks the power between the tackles and opportunities in the passing game, and Brandon Bolden is now the most reliable back on the roster (somehow?). The line hasn't done a great job of creating space, but the backs really haven't been doing anything with their opportunities.
Scott Chandler had better be ready
He's had more passes hit his hands and fall incomplete than the rest of the team combined, but he's now the team's top tight end and he's going to be busy in the passing game with injuries to the rest of the roster.
Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins can't be replaced
The Patriots were already without Collins, but then Hightower went down early in the game with an injury. It was at that point when Denver started to run the ball all over the defense and that's because Jonathan Freeny (who had a pretty good game) and Jerod Mayo are just major steps below the starting linebackers.
Logan Ryan was LIGHTS OUT
Game ball to Ryan for shutting down Demaryius Thomas for most of the game. He was actually in coverage of Andre Caldwell's go-ahead touchdown at the end of the fourth quarter, but Ryan made Thomas not want to play the game of football. Malcolm Butler had some trouble with Emmanuel Sanders.
Bill Belichick should have kicked off in overtime
The offense was absolutely decimated with injuries, but Belichick trusted them to score more than he trusted his defense to keep the Broncos out of the end zone. Not sure why. The defense was fantastic for most of the game and even if the Broncos scored a field goal, the Patriots could get the ball back. If they forced a stop, they would only need a field goal.
The officials were atrocious, yet again
For the upteenth time this season, the officials have done a terrible job with the game. They called numerous ticky tack penalties on Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots, specifically the offensive pass interference call that would've iced the game. Then they called a holding call on Patrick Chung in the end zone to wipe out a huge sack by Alan Branch, when Demaryius Thomas had hands in Chung's face and was pushing off far more blatantly than anything Gronkowski ever has.
The season isn't over
It might feel that way, but there are still five games left to play. Hopefully we can get some positive news on Rob Gronkowski. Hopefully Danny Amendola can return next week. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully.