BOSTON (CBS) -- The Patriots' loss in Denver on Sunday afternoon left many Patriots fans stunned. Rarely does a team as well-coached as the Patriots, with a quarterback like Tom Brady, struggle so mightily on such a grand stage.
While the reasons for the loss might be numerous, Sports Illustrated's Greg Bedard believes much of the credit belong to Wade Phillips.
The Broncos' defensive coordinator completely changed his tendencies, and the Patriots' offense took far too long to figure out a response. In the process, the defensive scheme made Brady look rather ordinary.
Bedard explained Tuesday on Felger & Mazz:
I thought that Brady struggled a lot in the first half. I did not think he was very good in the first half at all. He was much better in the second half.
When you go into a game like this, both sides of the ball are looking at the past film, tendencies, things like that.
Let's just start with the Patriots taking the ball. I thought that was a sign that they were seeing the ball exactly how I was seeing it, Mr. Terribly Wrong 42-17. Because you only take the ball if you think your chances are really good for going down and scoring, or at least getting field position. And that's what I thought -- if the Patriots come out, get their shotgun five wide, the way the Broncos had defended those sets, like the week before against thee Steelers, then the Patriots should have matchup advantages all over the field, and Brady should be able to pick 'em out.
Well, the X factor in all of this is that Wade completely changed up how he does things, and in a certain way, you could say this game was a failure of imagination on the Patriots' offensive part and Josh McDaniels. Look, all these coaches do it the same way; they base it off film, they base it off tendencies, so they set a game-plan saying, 'All right, we think we're gonna get these coverages, this is how we're going to attack it.' I think nobody ever thought, 'Well what if Wade does this? What if they defend us this way? What if they defend us like the Jets? What is our plan? Are we expecting that?'
Because from jump street, through at least the first half, Brady did not see this game well at all. He did not know -- when you watch Tom Brady on film, time after time, 95 percent of the time he knows exactly where he's going with the ball before the ball's snapped, and he manipulates the defense, motion this way, open this up. He had no clue in the first half. None.
There were four times in the first four possessions and five overall in the first half where Julian Edelman was wide open. Wide open. And Brady wasn't even looking in that direction. Normally, he'll look to one side, he'll like the matchups. Edelman was extremely frustrated in this game. There were several times after passes where he's wide open, his arms are up.
You've got to give Wade Phillips a lot of credit, but you also have to say that the Patriots' coaches just missed things. They just did not think that was possible.
While Brady's interception to Von Miller was obviously a very costly and obvious mistake, Bedard said that the play before the pick was a sign of things to come.
One of the big plays that stood out for me and how Brady did not see the game was the play before the interception. Brady got pressured, play-action, [Rob] Gronkowski is wide open on a slant -- or, coming wide open. It's a little cloudy. But all Brady has to do is get it over the linebacker and it's a 40, 50-yard gain. And Brady didn't pull the trigger. And then the next play, the interception, he just didn't see it. And that was a huge swing in the game.
There were countless times in the first half where those things were happening, where guys were open or going to come open, and Brady a lot of the times was looking at the wrong side of the field. Normally, he is right on the money, knows exactly what he's doing, and lets go of it.
You've got to give a lot of credit to the Broncos, but also, it seemed like the Patriots just weren't prepared [for that defense]. And who would be? Because Wade Phillips throughout his career, cover 1, bring 70 percent of pressure on third-and-short, all this stuff, brought 17 percent pressure on this game. And it threw the Patriots for a loop and they really didn't have an answer. They still almost won the game, but overall, the bottom line is you got beat in all three phases.
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