Monday Morning Quarterbacking: Why the Patriots Lost

Theories abound after the Pats season-ending defeat in Denver.

Bill Belichick

AP Photo

As usual following a major Patriots game, there’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking as we try to deconstruct just why the team lost. Everyone’s pushing theories on the major reasons the Patriots fell to Denver, 26-16, in the AFC Championship game. From the logistical to the supernatural, here are a few theories:

Theory #1 

Who’s responsible? Bill Belichick

According to: Bill Belichick

Why? Belichick was unusually contrite in his post-game comments. “I wish we could’ve done a little bit better job today—especially me,” he said, choking up a bit. “There’s a lot of things I don’t feel great about. That shouldn’t come as a big surprise. But it’s in the books, can’t do anything about it except look back on it, learn from it, and move on.”

That said, Belichick was pretty circumspect on playing the blame game:

“The bottom line was they just did a better job than we did. That’s really the bottom line. I don’t think it’s about any one player or any one play. There were a lot of opportunities in the game had we been able to coach better, play better, execute better, any one of those areas would have given us a better chance, but we were up against another good football team, and they were better than we were today. Give them a lot of credit for what they did. They did a good job.”

But that doesn’t mean he didn’t name other responsible parties …

Theory #2 

Who’s responsible? Wes Welker

According to: Bill Belichick; angry fans at home

Why? Welker caught a lot of flack for a low hit against Aqib Talib that took the cornerback out of the game early in the second quarter. Here’s the GIF, care of Deadspin.


Belichick was not pleased, telling reporters: “It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open, and I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play. It’s not for me to decide, but it’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. That’s all I’ll say about that.” Woof. Sports reporters are finding the awkwardness especially delicious to pick over given Welker’s history with the Patriots and Belichick.

Theory #3

Who’s Responsible? Peyton Manning and John Fox

According to: Dan Shaughnessy. All of Denver?

Why? Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning and Coach John Fox deserve some obvious credit for, you know, winning the game. Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy is particularly fond of stomping on the dreams of anyone who thought the Patriots might win this one. He sums it up nicely:

“Fox did what he needed to do at the start of the slaughter … Manning did the rest. He too often settled for 3 points when he could have had 7, but he carved up Belichick’s smoke-and-mirrors defense for 400 passing yards. He completed 32 of 43 throws. Two touchdowns. No interceptions. He passed every test on a day when Patriots fans were waiting for him to choke.”

Theory #4

Who’s responsible? Bethel Johnson

According to: Bethel Johnson.

Why? Herein our most bizarre of theories: Bethel Johnson, Patriots receiver from 2003 to 2005, believes himself the Bambino of our new Millenium. “I said when the Pats traded me that they’ll never win another championship,” he said over Twitter, as screenshotted by Barstool. “Say what you want about me, I was there 3yrs & left with 2 rings.” He cursed the Pats, apparently, because the team knew he had a broken leg and didn’t tell him until they’d traded him.  Let’s hope that this is the real reason for the loss because it’s a lot easier to just get him back on the roster than fix any of these other amorphous problems like coaching, strong opposition, or whatever else in the postseason. #Reversethecurse, guys.