Patriots Fumble after Impressive 10 Game Winning Streak
by Julia Lebovitz on Friday, December 11th, 2015
On November 29th, the New England Patriots suffered their first loss of the season against the Denver Broncos in overtime. Although the Patriots built a strong 14 point lead and were ahead for the majority of the game, they were not able to pull out a win. After falling behind late in the fourth quarter, Stephen Gostkowski scored a necessary 47 yard field goal as the regulation time ran out to bring the game into overtime. Unfortunately, after winning the coin toss, the Patriots were not able to score or kick a field goal, and the Broncos won the game with a fifty yard touchdown pass.
Not only did the Patriots lose their chance for an undefeated season, but also lost key players through injury. The Patriots’ offense had already struggled in week 11 against the Buffalo Bills, scoring a season low of 20 points, and barely pulled out a win. The previous week, the Patriots were hit hard by injury losing Julian Edelman, their leading receiver, to a foot injury; Dion Lewis, their leading running back to a torn ACL; and Jamie Collins, a star defender. To top it off, in the Bills game, Danny Amendola, another receiver, injured his knee after accounting for 117 yards of receptions.
Despite all these injuries, the Patriots controlled much of the game against the Broncos until the fourth quarter when star tight end Rob Gronkowski was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. With all these players injured, all Patriot fans fear the difficulty in executing game-changing plays. This was evident during overtime when the Patriots were unable to score or even get a first down. The Patriots also lost one of their leading defenders, Dont’a Hightower to injury earlier in the game. Without him, their defense was not able to stop the Broncos late in the fourth quarter and in overtime.
There was also controversy over the officials’ flags during the game. Two questionable calls at the end of the game were against Gronkowski and Patriots safety Patrick Chung. Gronkowski was called for offensive pass interference that invalidated a third down conversion and forced the Patriots to punt. Chung was called for holding which negated a sack that would have forced the Broncos to face a 3rd and goal at the 15 yard line; instead the Broncos scored a lead gaining touchdown. Many fans blamed the referees for the Patriots loss. This followed the questionable call during the Bills game when the referee blew an inadvertent whistle and negated a potential touchdown.
Update: This past Sunday, the Patriots faced the Philadelphia Eagles, who started the season with high hopes, but had a record of 4-7 and were on a three game losing streak. Quarterback Sam Bradford had an underwhelming game, but the Eagles defense and special teams stole the show, scoring three cringeworthy touchdowns that left many Pats fans wondering what went wrong. However, the Pats are still in a great spot and should be able to cruise to yet another division championship as well as a first round bye.
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