Patriots day-after lament is about chances blown

986133.jpg

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.

Bryan Stork: 'Nothing but great memories' with Patriots

stork.jpg

Bryan Stork: 'Nothing but great memories' with Patriots

After being traded to the Washington Redskins this week, former Patriots center Bryan Stork broke his 35-day Twitter silence to say farewell to New England.

For those who are wondering, the acronym "HTTR" stands for "Hail to the Redskins," the team's fight song. #HTTR is used by the team and fans on social media.

Stork was reportedly mulling retirement after being dealt, but has decided to report. 

The Patriots informed Stork of his release early Wednesday, but the Patriots and Redskins were able to work out a deal for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick before the move was processed.

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.

"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."

Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.

"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.

What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."

As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.