I thought I'd wait a couple of days before comi ng back with some post game comments. No fair piling on. Its very hard on fans who have rooted so hard for their team for so long, to have it come to such an abrupt stop. Been part of many such seasons. Only one team gets to have a totally happy fan base. For all Pats fans know, we just might be prolonging the agony....but I'll take it.
1. By and large most Pats fans have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with Texans' fans, both here and on our site. Can't say there is a more fair minded and knowledgeable fan base. It good to discuss actual football issues and get to see things through a set of eyes that have a different bias. Thank you. Maybe we are fair minded and knowledgeable about other teams. Most of our folks are whacked out about the Texans still.
2. About the game itself. I think you saw the gap between the 2 teams was less about the respective talent of the 2 teams and more about the coaching and mind set. You are going to have a hard time getting an argument about that.
Texan fans got to see the affect of how the Patriot Way Works, and its not just about saying the "right thing". After a week of gearing their offense to showcase Woodhead and Gronkowski, the Pats had to quickly adapt when they lost BOTH guys in the first series. Its not just a matter of "the next man up". Its the ability to adjust and adapt on the fly during the chaos of the game. Texans don't do in game adjustments. Not even in season adjustments for that matter.
Not only were the Pats able to reconfigure their offense, but the they had the players who now had to play fully prepared to execute their assignments. Shane Vareen was the offensive star, rarely gets more than 10 snaps a game. He's been a healthy Scratch a couple of times this year. Yet when the moment came for him to have to step up, he was ready. Credit to him, but also credit to the staff that had him ready
3. I can't understand why Wade didn't make more defensive adjustments the 2nd time around. Isn't the definition of insanity - doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results. Wade blitzed the exact same number of times and got pretty much the same results he got the first time.
Can you imagine what the carnage would have been WITH a healthy Gronk? You can no longer do it just one way in the NFL. Ibid.
You can not longer just rely on JJ Watt to destroy an offensive game plan. He's the best in the league, but even the best can be taken out of a game as you saw after the 2nd series of the game. JJ was a non-factor.
BTW- blame the coaches - its not like you didn't know that the Pats like to run an uptempo no huddle in the red zone, yet there was the same confusion that was there in the first game? Ibid.
4. You guys have a superb OL, an elite RB, and the most underrated elite WR in the leaue....and your QB doesn't suck either. I think the Texans need to add just 2 things to have a really elite offense next year.
a. 2 additional WR's to help out AJ. Another outside threat and a Welker like slot guy that Shaub can go to quickly, like Brady does with Welker and Hernandez
b. An additional RB, who is a Woodhead/Vareen type. That type of RB would relieve some of the pressure from Foster and force defenses to spread out more. You guys are going to quickly wear Foster out. At the start of the season we had Tate and Forsett. They must have keeled over dead months ago.
5. On defense you need to be more flexible and varied. No defense is prepared to stop today's offenses. Good teams with good offenses have all the advantages. Even the best defenses can't stop a good offense. All they can do is slow them down and confuse them enough so their offense isn't under total pressure.
6. The next step is mental for your team. They have to learn to beat the good teams in tough conditions. Right now you are the AFC version of the Atlanta Falcons, only with a couple of wildcard wins. I have no doubt you will be back in the playoffs next season. So will the Pats. Maybe the story will be different then. We shall see