With another trip to the Super Bowl in sight, the New England Patriots fell into unfamiliar behavior: namely, stupid penalties. The most crushing came in a fourth-quarter drive that might have—had it been sustained—salted away the win. However, the zebras noticed an odd configuration in the Pats huddle—too many Flying Elvises. Heath Evans—the RB who had played so well all season—was not in the right spot and at just the wrong time. Flag. Five yards. And, a stalled drive.
An uncharacteristic Troy Brown offensive interference call negated another first down—and, all of this—along with the fatigue of a sickly (literally) defense, led to a devastating end to a hopeful post-season. Despite never trailing for 59 minutes, they lost 38-34.
Give him his due, Peyton Manning finally exorcised his New England demons. He willed his offense down the field time after time, knifing through our flu-ridden defenders like like a 6 foot 5 inch bottle of NyQuil.
The dreams of further dynasty are now on hold until July.