Penalties… Plain and simple, penalties. Not something that you would normally associate with a New England Patriots team, but this year it seems to be the norm, rather than the exception. And for the second week in a row cost them the chance of a victory and clinching the AFC East for the tenth year in a row.
Again this weeks game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was filled with undisciplined penalties, especially during the fourth quarter. The Patriots amassed a total of 14 penalties for a whopping 104 in Pittsburgh and for the second week in a row was the main determining factor for the loss.
Patriots Guard, Trent Brown (77) was, for the second week in a row, called for an abundance of holding and false-start penalties. The worst offenses were during the final drive, with under two minutes left in the game and Tom Brady driving down the field trailing 17-10 Brown was called for several penalties while the Patriots were in the red zone.
Brown, who is an imposing character at 6 ft 8 in and 380lbs helped sure up the Offensive line at the beginning of the season has become more of a liability over the past couple of game with penalties at the worst and most critical points of the game.
Penalties were not the only reason why the Patriots have lost the past two games. Their defense has been poor over that period with poor tackling and soft coverage. The defense allowed two drives of 90+ yards against the Steelers with poor tackling and poor play calls. If this team plans on doing anything in the Playoffs, they will need to sure up their defense, Right Now!
Although not the reason for the two losses, the Patriots Offense has not helped and have been average at best. In the last six quarters, the Offense has scored only one touchdown and that was due to a blown coverage by the Steelers.
As goes the Offense, so goes Tom Brady. Brady has had two very uncharacteristic plays over the past two games including a horrible interception against Pittsburgh and blowing putting points on the board at halftime of the Miami Dolphins game by taking a sack as time was running out and no timeouts.
Although Brady has not been too sharp, the Offense has been stagnant and been marred by penalties and dropped passes.
Offense and Defense are both responsible for this December Debacle. Coaching is ultimately responsible for both games. Poor in-game decisions and personnel decisions are 1-2 in December and are on the verge of loosing the chance of having a first round bye in the playoffs and possibly not have a home game for the first time in years.
Coach Belichick needs to do some of his coaching magic, quick, or it may be a really quiet January in Foxboro.