I would say this pretty accurately sums up the Pats' recent problems.<quoted text>
In 2001, 2003 and 2004 Tom Brady had a tough, physical defense behind him. That defense was the heart of the team. The Patriots also believed in sticking to the run in those years. Brady was 9-0 in those 3 playoff seasons.
The Patriots didn't need Brady to carry the team. Brady had just 11 touchdowns passes in 9 playoff games in their 3 championship seasons.
But the Patriots slowly evolved away from the physical defense as well as the running game. They went to the spread offense and became a "finesse" team. With this, the Patriots began losing in the playoffs.
Brady is now 8-7 in the playoffs beginning with the 2005 season. Brady commented after today's loss that the Patriots "went away from the run game in the 2nd half and became a one dimensional offense". The entire team including Brady collapsed as a result.
You can't win Super Bowls if you're a one dimensional offense. You may have pretty stats. You may throw a lot of TD's. You may score many points in the regular season. But that means nothing come playoff time if you aren't physical.
Brady has played the Ravens 3 times in 4 years in the post season. His QB rating in those 3 games are 49.1, 57.5 and 63.3 while having 3 TD's and 7 interceptions. Of Brady's 24 career postseason games, 3 of his 4 worst performances have come against these Ravens.
The N.Y. Giants are physical and swept the Patriots last season. Baltimore and San Francisco are physical and they went 3-0 against the Patriots this season. When the great defensive players of the Patriots retired in 2007 and 2008, it was time to rebuild that defense. But it's taking Belichick forever to rebuild this defense. Bill Parcells was the coach that acquired the defense that carried the Patriots to their titles and Belichick has been unable to replicate that.
The guys that made the Pats what they were are all gone. The defense has been in a state of rebuild for the past 6 years with no end in sight. The balance of pass/run is gone, and Brady has been relegated to throwing 5-7 yard passes, despite the fact that both Lloyd and Welker are quite capable of getting open and catching the mid-range and long balls. Even worse, there's talk of letting Welker go. Geez...
Until the Pats provide more of a pass rush, and get back to possession/power football, they will be compared to, and suffer the fate of, the 2000-2011 Colts. Yes, those Colts won a SB and made it to another, but look at how many opportunities they squandered.
And speaking of squandering opportunities, it appears that Manning has morphed the Broncos into the 2000-2011 Colts. The Broncos used to be a smash mouth, in your face offensive unit, with a defense to match. Now they are resorting to trick/finesse plays on both ends of the ball, and using the run only to set up the pass. And what's up with Champ Bailey? If he wasn't ready to play, what was he doing out there?