Monday, January 16, 2006

Dynasty Is Two-Minute "Drilled"

It looked so promising as the Pats ran the clock down to the two-minute warning in the first half of their 27-13 loss to the Broncos (their first playoff setback in almost 7 years). Things were starting to click. Despite being out-played for the first 20 minutes or so, they were about to take at least a 3-0 lead into the locker room. Or, with a little luck, go in leading 6-0 or 10-0. Then, they got 2-minute drilled.

A Kevin Faulk fumble and a phantom interference call later and they were suddenly down 7-3. Rookie Ellis Hobbs then fumbled the ensuing kick-off and that lead to 50-yard field goal making it 10-3. In barely over one minute, the entire complexion of the game flipped. We didn't know it then, but that was the end.

The second half saw three more turnovers and uncharacteristic failures by the core of this dynastic crew--a Vinatieri missed field goal here, a Brady interception there, a Troy Brown dropped punt. As Brady said, "It's just unfortunate that it was our best players making some of the big mistakes." And, despite one of the most inspiring plays in NFL history, Ben Watson was not able to carry the whole team on his back. It has ended. It was a great run.

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