When the New England Patriots are down, they are never down for the count.
Whether they are down 20-10 at the start of the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship game or down 28-3 at the end of the third quarter in the Super Bowl, the Patriots can only ever be counted out when the final whistle blows. Here are the reasons why the Patriots always come back and defy all reason.
When there are less than two minutes left in a game and the Patriots are down by one score, there is no more comforting sight than seeing No. 12 running onto the field.
Quarterback Tom Brady is the best in the game at orchestrating come from behind wins. Since the divisional round game against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2014 postseason, Brady has been able to produce some of the best comeback wins in NFL history.
In that divisional game against the Ravens, Brady and the Patriots were done by a couple of touchdowns not just once, but twice. Throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another one as well, Brady put the team on his back and carried them to another AFC Championship game.
No other games have been a better example of Brady’s determination to win better than Super Bowl LI. After being outplayed for the better part of the game, Brady and the Patriots rallied together for the dogfight of their lives. Orchestrating a comeback when down 25 points was a feat that many thought was impossible to achieve. Apparently, the doubters forgot that No. 12 was still playing in the game.
After crucial stops by the defense, the offense had opportunities to put points on the board. With the Atlanta Falcons defense tired, it was time to for the hurry up offense. With the defense on their heels, the Patriots offense was able to execute the historic comeback.
What Brady does best that sets him apart is he does not look two, three or even four plays ahead. He takes his time and plays the game snap by snap, throw by throw and delivers when it counts most.
The mark of a great team is how they can go into half-time and make adjustments.
The Patriots’ coaches have been far and ahead of the competition in this aspect, on both the offensive and defensive ends of the ball. During the AFC title game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Patriots were being pushed up and down the field. They were not playing to the Jaguars weaknesses.
The second half was a completely different story. On the defensive end, the Patriots were able to put pressure on quarterback Blake Bortles and effectively neutralize the run game. The Patriots succeeded in limiting the Jaguars to just six points and tallied up all of their three sacks during the second half. The Patriots defense was able to play some zone and very tight man-to-man coverage on critical third and fourth down plays.
The offense made critical adjustments in the run and passing game. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is great at creating mismatches on the field, and this game was no exception. The scheme was simple: keep a clean pocket and overload the defensive zones.
With the Jaguars using more zone type coverage, the offense was able to overload the zone coverage with simple flat routes up or down of the zone area. Adjustments in the passing scheme proved to be vital in this game as they have been in many high pressure situations.