Patriots day-after lament is about chances blown

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Patriots day-after lament is about chances blown

FOXBORO -- In the end, the Patriots lost by a wide margin -- 15 points.

But the space between the Ravens and Patriots on Sunday was made up of many little plays that the Patriots didn't show up for. It wasn't one or two critical moments. Rather it was a dozen or so that led to New England's season-ending Sunday night.

"Give the Ravens credit; they did a great job, they deserved to win, and they were the better team," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. "We had opportunities that we didnt capitalize on and they obviously hurt us. The Ravens had opportunities that they did capitalize on and thats why theyre still playing. They did a better job of playing and coaching than we did last night. They deserved to win the game and they did. Take nothing away from them. We missed our opportunities."

Belichick cited the Patriots failures in the red zone in contrast to Baltimore (how big, in hindsight, was the hurried third-and-2 stuff of Stevan Ridley on the Patriots first scoring drive?), New England's defensive inability to follow up positive plays on first down with solid plays on second down, and the Patriots' sputtering offense after it crossed midfield.

"The red area was a big deciding edge in the game in their favor," said Belichick. "It felt like defensively we didnt do a good enough job on second down. We really, we had them in a number of second down situations, second-and-10s and those kind of things, and they kind of got off the hook there with a couple passes to Ray Rice, Dennis Pitta, Torrey Smith, a run by Bernard Pierce.

"We just were never able to get into many third down situations there in the second half where we actually could have gotten them off the field. We didnt string those plays together. We had a lot of negative plays or no-gain plays in there, but we just werent able to string them together and they were able to keep those drives going and finish in the red area. Really, that was pretty much the story of the game: missed opportunities and the differential in the red area. There were obviously a couple turnovers there in the second half."

The air didn't go out of the Patriots' balloon until very late, Belichick believed. The gig wasn't up because the Patriots were still moving it.

"Even though we were behind, I still felt like as we were moving the ball, we were getting down there, if we could have gotten it in, we could have made it a one-score game and we would have had a chance there," he pointed out. "But we got to the, whatever it was, 34 or 24 or 18, somewhere in there three or four times in that 30 to 20-yard line range and just couldnt really get it past that. I thought that was kind of the story yesterday."

And the Patriots will now have an offseason to figure out what they could have done differently to get there.

Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

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Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

FOXBORO -- Patriots wideout Chris Hogan indicated after Saturday's divisional round win over the Texans that he'd be OK, and he doubled down on that stance when meeting with reporters Tuesday. 

The veteran receiver, whose first season with the Patriots has brought his first career postseason experience, injured his thigh against Houston. He left in the third quarter and did not return. 

"Feeling good," Hogan said. "Just had a little minor setback in the game. I'm working back every single day and feeling better every day."

Hogan had an awkward collision with Texans defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney at the end of the first half on a play at the goal line. To that point, he had reeled in four passes for 95 yards as the team's primary deep threat. With Hogan out, Brady relied upon Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd as wideouts.

Hogan explained that he was expecting to practice this week.

"I'm just gonna go day by day," he said. "Come in here tomorrow. Everything's been feeling better day by day. I'm looking forward to getting out there and practicing this week."

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Michael Strahan saw the Patriots lose a Super Bowl first-hand, but he doesn’t think they’ll lose Super Bowl LI. That’s because he doesn’t think they’ll be participants. 

Appearing on The Tonight Show, the former Giants defensive end and current Person Who is Frequently on Television said that he expects the Steelers to upset the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship.

“I think in the AFC, I think Pittsburgh might pull the upset this year,” Strahan said. 

When Jimmy Fallon objected, Strahan said Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ pass rush would be enough to beat the Pats if New England plays the way it did in the divisional round. 
 
“If you watched the Houston Texans, they had a shot; they just turned the ball over,” he said. “And the Houston Texans offense is in no way, shape or form near what Pittsburgh has. They don’t have the quarterback that [Pittsburgh has]. Defensively, Houston had the really good defense, but Pittsburgh [puts] the good pressure on the quarterback. And from my Super Bowl experience, Tom Brady does not like pressure. I’m just saying I feel like if there’s anybody who’s going to pull an upset, it will be them.” 

As for any rooting interest, Strahan said that he hopes the Falcons win the Super Bowl, citing Matt Ryan being overdue for a title and Julio Jones having a Brady-like quality of putting team goals before his own legacy.