Notice that I didn't title this post, you "can't" win them all, because the New England Patriots certainly could have won this game.
…If Wes Welker didn't drop critical passes
…If the Patriots managed the clock better at the end of the half and scored a touchdown instead of a field goal
…If the Patriot's didn't get called for holding on Woodhead's three yard scamper, which turned a first-down into a 3rd and 12 that resulted in a punt
…If the referees weren't completely out of their minds and actually overturned the Ridley fumble, since he was clearly down prior to losing control.
…If the ball bounces in some other direction other than right into the defenders hands on Brady's first interception.
…If Aqib Talib doesn't get hurt and the Patriots can actually put a competent secondary on the field.
…If Rob Gronkowski didn't break his forearm, again, in a completely different place than the first break.
…If Bernard Pollard had any other profession.
But we don't play the "if" game in Foxboro.
The Patriots lost. They got out played. I can tip my cap to the Ravens and give them my congratulations. Well, except for Ray Lewis. Ray should be wearing an orange jump suit, not a trashy cut-off t-shirt with Art Modell on it. Has anyone more insignificant during the course of a game ever hogged so much attention from his teammates? Can you imagine Tom Brady acting like that after a win? I'm so thankful the Patriots ended up with Tedy Bruschi and not that fool 17 years ago.
Before I wrap up, I just want to say that while you can't hang this game on the refs, that Ridley fumble call was a sham. Before that fumble, the Patriots had a puncher's chance at turning things around. After that fumble, the floor fell out from underneath them. I snapped that photo above using my phone with the DVR paused. At the moment of that photo, Ridley has complete control of the ball. He doesn't lose possesion until his helmet comes down further and jars it loose. His butt, his thigh, his calf, and his ankle are all on the ground. What more does he have to do to be considered down? Dig a ditch on the field? Go to middle earth and find Frodo Baggins? As anyone who follows this blog knows, I love to complain about the referees. They screwed us royally in Week 3. They didn't let us down this time.
After all, it was only the most important play of the game.
And now, the long, painful off-season begins. Belichick better bring 19 cornerbacks to training camp. Gronk better have Lex Luger's orthopedic surgeon work on his arm this off-season. Robert Kraft should pay Bernard Pollard $40 million dollars to switch over to the Canadian Football League. And while we're at it, let's bring in Tim Tebow and turn him into the best fullback/tight end in NFL history to humiliate the Jets even further.
Sounds like a plan to me. XLVIII or Bust!