There were so many things wrong with the Patriots’ final play in Sunday’s loss the Broncos.
The New England Patriots have endured plenty of ugly losses throughout the Bill Belichick era, and that’s to be expected. After all, no dynasty is perfect and there are bound to be some bumps along the path to supremacy.
However, we honestly cannot remember a game in which they came out flat and failed to recover quite like Sunday’s loss to Denver. Despite not allowing a touchdown and forcing two interceptions against Broncos quarterback Drew Lock in the fourth quarter, the Patriots finished as losers in low-scoring affair.
To say New England was lucky to have the ball with a chance to win the game in the final minute is an understatement, but much like the previous 58 minutes, the offense failed to execute. After being stopped on three straight plays, the game came down to a 4th and 10 just outside the red zone.
Unfortunately for Patriots fans, what transpired was utter nothingness as Cam Newton’s pass attempt to wide receiver N’Keal Harry didn’t come close to being completed. We don’t mean to put offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on blast, but what on earth was this play?
For starters, it looked as though Harry either ran the wrong out or failed to improvise by playing right into the Broncos’ defensive scheme. Newton makes an excellent read and whipped the pass near the sidelines assuming that the young receiver would break outside, but he didn’t.
That’s obviously more on Harry than it is on Newton, but should the QB really be targeting the 2019 first-round pick after he failed to log a reception all game? Probably not. In Newton’s defense, he didn’t exactly have time to go through his progressions and see if his other wideouts were open, which brings us to our next point.
We get the offensive line was decimated and players were playing in unfamiliar positions, but they really couldn’t come together and provide some resistance for ONE play? Yes, Denver brought the kitchen sink on a blitz, but the Patriots had two extra blockers lined up in the backfield and the group still failed to do its job.
We would have also preferred James White, who led the team in receiving and is more than capable of making a defender miss, to leak out as a receiver after delivering a block, but we got none of that.
Another reason Newton targeted Harry? Because the other two wideouts, Julian Edelman and Damiere Byrd, both ran a crossing route and ended up in the same spot. Maybe having them so close was meant to confuse the defense, but if that’s the case, the surefire option in Harry cannot be botching his assignment.
It would have been nice to see if Newton’s pass was completed had Harry broke for the sidelines, but this play was clearly doomed from the start and it perfectly encapsulates the lack of execution by the offense in the loss.