Battle of the Offenses: A Dynasty Defeated
The End. Is it possible that we’ve witnessed the end of the beloved Brady and Belichick New England dynasty that has been praised since 2001? The same dynasty that started on January 19, 2002, when Charles Woodson strip-sacked Tom Brady, (was later overturned into what is known as the infamous “Tuck Rule”), now downfalls to, ironically, a strip sack with two and a half minutes left in the game by Brandon Graham. It was the only sack of the entire game. A total of 1,156 yards, the most yards covered by both teams combined in Super Bowl history, indicates that this was an obvious terrible showcase of defensive talent from both teams who had seemed to figure things out by the end of the regular season. Both teams struggled to pressure the quarterback consistently and stop the opposing offense on third downs. A huge noticeable aspect of the game to remember is that Nick Foles is the backup QB. This backup threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns, and even managed to catch one. The Patriots should consider themselves lucky that Carson Wentz was not playing, as this would not have even been close if the Eagles enjoyed their normal offense. It did not help that the Patriots started to put the pieces together too late. Early in the game, they found themselves down 15-3. With kicker Stephen Gostkowski missing a field goal and extra point, wide receiver Brandin Cooks leaving in the first half with a head injury, and every time the Patriots put points on the board, the Eagles seemed to have a response. It was not looking bright until the fourth quarter. The Patriots didn’t grasp a lead until 9:26 remained in the game, and it wasn’t much, taking a 33-32 lead. The Eagles scored nine unanswered points. It seems as if the Eagles could do whatever they wanted on offense with ease, and the Patriots defense did not have an answer. Nick Foles and his offense determined the pace of the game and had the momentum all the way through. The Eagles didn’t win the game, the Patriots lost. They beat themselves which allowed the Eagles to literally run all over them. The Eagles won 41-33. The combined 74 points between the two teams is the second highest number of points scored during a Super Bowl. If either defense had shown up and decided to play, this game would’ve been a blowout. Instead, it became a battle of the offenses. It was a rare occurrence that Tom Brady lost that battle while throwing 505 yards and three touchdowns. It just wasn’t enough. For those who are superstitious, this Super Bowl had all the wrong signals for the Patriots. Sure, they had the white uniforms on (in which they’ve never lost, in the Brady-Belichick era), but the Patriots won the coin toss and Brady won the MVP. The Patriots have never won the coin toss and the Super Bowl under Belichick and the MVP has never won the Super Bowl since Kurt Warner in 1999. This is the third Super Bowl loss in Brady’s career and fifth for the Patriots’ franchise. Now the question is: will they be back to the big game anytime soon? With coordinator Matt Patricia leaving in the off season for a head coaching jobs with the Detroit Lions, and the Patriots also almost definitely losing high-caliber cornerback Malcolm Butler, who only played on special teams in the Super Bowl, not one defensive snap; it is back to the drawing board. The Patriots need to use this game as motivation, make big moves in free agency, and figure out their defensive issues before it becomes too late. If not, we have all witnessed the end of one of the greatest eras in sports history.