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Patriots left to ponder missed opportunity

The New England Patriots have to feel sick. After hearing about their potential for an undefeated season throughout the summer, New England opened up the regular season at home against the Kansas City Chiefs on national television … and lost 42-27.

With a 2-2 start, the questions began, but so did the dominance. The Patriots rolled to a 13-3 regular-season record and another AFC East title before rolling into the playoffs. There, New England dispatched the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, advancing to their eighth Super Bowl since 2001. There, New England would draw the Philadelphia Eagles, a team playing with a journeyman backup quarterback and coaches by a man who was only in his second year.

Somehow, New England ended up losing in epic fashion, an upset that won’t soon be forgotten.

Philadelphia was able to go up and down the field all night on Bill Belichick’s defense, scoring 41 points to earn its first Super Bowl title in franchise history. The Eagles got an MVP performance from Nick Foles, who threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, to go with a receiving score on a Trey Burton toss. All told, the Patriots allowed north of 500 total yards, unable to get off the field when it mattered most.

Perhaps most frustratingly, New England squandered a legendary performance from Tom Brady. Brady threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, the former stat setting a Super Bowl record. The offense set another Super Bowl record with 613 yards, a unit that did not punt the entire game. Still, New England lost by eight points.


Bill Belichick


Going forward, one has to wonder what the future has in store. Brady is coming off his third MVP season, a year where he led the league in passing yardage. Despite being 41 years old in August, there is no reason to believe his game will decline, save for the history of aging quarterbacks. At some juncture, Brady will begin to see his skills erode, and when that happens, turn out the lights in Foxboro.

After benching him for the entire game, it’s impossible to imagine corner Malcolm Butler coming back into the fold. With Rob Gronkowski also contemplating retirement, New England could have a much different look next year.

Finally, how much longer does Belichick remain on the sideline. At 65 years old, only Pete Carroll is an older active head coach. While Belichick certainly has the job as long as he wants, it’s tough to see him staying more than another few seasons.

In short, the clock is ticking louder by the minute on a dynasty that missed a great shot to win one more title.

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