In your opinion, what was the biggest takeaway from Sunday Night's wild game?
Raj: While the Patriots did put on a good show during the latter phases of the game, I just think they ran out of gas. But they shouldn’t have needed to score 28 points to tie the game so what I take away from this match was that while San Francisco was a formidable foe, the Patriots shouldn’t have played overconfidently. The overconfidence they brought from the win over Houston resulted in many turnovers and bad mechanics. New England can’t even blame the weather since they’re so good when it rains/snows. San Francisco doesn’t even play in freezing rain and they performed excellently. As the playoffs come around, the Patriots are going to be playing formidable opponents throughout their journey if they were to make it to Super Bowl XLVII. What they can’t do is come into a big game coming off a big win with an overconfident attitude. If they do that, karma unfortunately will hit them back and that’s certainly not what I want to see.
Jason: It's going to sound a bit odd, but I came away from that game feeling better about the Pats than the week before. A lot of bounces went New England's way against Houston, and they rightfully demolished the Texans. But you're not going to get all the bounces every week. What happens when games start to get ugly? What happens when weather conditions are awful for the passing game, running backs can't hold onto the ball, the oppossing team recovers eight of nine fumbles, the refs blow several crucial calls against you and you're facing a huge deficit against the league's top defense? The fact that the Patriots nearly prevailed in spite of all of those issues is a testament to the mental toughness of this team. Even in a loss, the takeaway here is that New England is the best and most dangerous team in the league.
Derek: I could go a lot of ways with this one, as I think there was a ton to learn from Sunday's game. However, the biggest thing that we learned was that the Patriots have progressed to the point where they can hang with any team in the league and no matter what gets thrown at them, they will be able to find an answer for it. This was the type of game that plagued New England teams of the past, where the running game broke down and teams were able to pressure Brady and a one-dimensional offense. Games like this were what cost them the Super Bowls against the Giants, and earlier this season against the Cardinals and Seahawks. The Patriots may not have won on Sunday, but the turnovers were the main reason for the failure, not the 49ers defensive scheme. If the Patriots can avoid turning over their Super Bowl hopes this playoff season, the Lombardi should end up back in Foxboro.