The dust has settled and the off-season for the Patriots is here earlier than expected. Imagine this Patriots fans. A few months ago we were talking about who the Patriots would want to come to Foxborough for the AFC championship game. Fast forward a few months and we had the Patriots lose at home in the Wild Card round. My, how the times changed! So, what exactly went wrong for the Patriots in 2019? Let's discuss.
The Weak First Half Schedule
The Patriots started off the season a perfect 8-0. But the thing that people forget is that the Patriots played eight games against teams that went a combined 41-69 in 2019. The second half of the season? They played five playoff teams and got exposed. If you got to play against Luke Falk, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Case Keenum, etc., wouldn't you do pretty well in that stretch too? I kept being a bit skeptical when they were 8-0 because they hadn't played anybody really good yet. The only exception could be the Bills. As great as the first half of the season was, it ultimately came back to haunt them down the stretch.
The Exposed Run Defense Flaws
We all thought that this Patriots team had this unbelievable defense. In fact, some were even comparing it to the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. I think we all knew the Patriots had some flaws after the Browns game. Sure, the Patriots won the game. But, the run defense looked horrible. Nick Chubb was able to run at will, and that pattern followed with other good runners. Derrick Henry ran right through the defensive line like butter in the Wild Card game. The pass defense was still pretty good throughout the year. But the run defense? It came back to bite the Patriots where it hurt...on the scoreboard in the playoffs.
Trading For Mohamed Sanu Instead of Emmanuel Sanders
The Patriots needed a wide receiver at the trade deadline to bolster their offensive attack. A lot of people (including myself) thought that Emmanuel Sanders would have made perfect sense. He wanted to be a Patriot in the past. He's quick and also on the last year of his current contract. It was a match made in heaven. Then, the Patriots got Mohamed Sanu out of Atlanta. I'm not going to lie, I talked myself into thinking it was a good move. Brady had a big veteran wide receiver that could help move the ball down the field. At the end of the day, the Patriots got the wrong receiver. Sanu finished with 26 receptions for 207 yards and one touchdown. Sanders? He has 36 receptions for 502 yards and three touchdowns. Sanu never seemed to fit in the offense. He dropped a lot of critical passes. At the end of the day, the Patriots probably wish they could do this one over.
A lot happened that contributed to the horrific end of the Patriots 2019 season. After the Miami game, it just never felt like their season. Now that the grievances are all laid out, it's time to officially move onto 2020. Make moves to give Brady some more weapons on offense and let's run it back one more time for number seven in Tampa Bay.