In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:
Eng, look at the situational playcalling in the Super Bowl. A lot of the pass heavy drives were at the end of the first half (drive that resulted in a TD) and the last drive of the game which started with less than a minute left. Both of those were drives where scoring fast was important. This creates more passing because the situation demands it (and it would have been stupid to run a lot in those situations).
If you think playcalling is really the issue you've got to look at the whole game play-by-play and tell us which plays were the wrong ones (i.e., one's that didn't fail because of execution and also failed because they were strategically wrong). I've done a bit of that watching film and honestly, I don't think playcalling was a problem. I think execution was.
You can point this out 100000000 times to people and they won't listen. Play calling is situational. Those two drives, where time was short, and they were trailing *absolutely* make the playcalling ratio.
Less the two "half ending" drives at a deficit, which combined to contribute a 19-4 pass/run ratio, New England's ratios change dramatically.
How this evades the imagination of folks out there is beyond me.
Compare that to the Eagles' Superbowl. The final three drives with their *power* or *ground and pound* offense amounted to 4 passes and 9 runs. But of course, they were milking a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter.
Those drives ended in TWO CONSECUTIVE three and outs trying to run clock, of course. People would be *HOWLING* if those happened now.
Outside of those three drives, New England ran the ball just 19 times and passed it 28 times.
That is 28 passes to 18 runs.
OK, so goose-gander. NE had another hurry up drive at that half. They passed 6 times and ran once and scored a TD on a pass to Givens.
The final tally of "non-situational-strategic" playcalling is 22 passes to 17 runs. Roughly the exact same amount of passing/running as the 46th Superbowl, but still fairly even at:
Virtually identical. But if we look at efficiencies, the difference is just stark!
NE had five three and outs and two five and outs in the Eagles Superbowl. And that gem of a drive where they fumbled the ball on the Eagles' 14 yard line. 8 failed drives. 6 really, that are tantamount to a turnover as 3 and outs or an actual turnover.
12 drives discounting the kneeling drive at the end. They scored on four of them.
Meanwhile, the Pats in Superbowl scored 3 out of 8 times.
Eagles - 33% scoring/ 50% drive fail rate / 2:25 min per drive
Giants - 37% scoring/ 50% drive fail rate / 2:32 min per drive
So let's start to sum this up.
If the absolute, non-situational running and passing is nearly the same (it almost always is).
If the scoring / drive efficiencies are almost the same (actually slightly favoring the 2011 Pats).
If the TOP metrics per drive are almost identical (actually slightly favoring the 2011 Pats).
But the outcome is different. How is it different?
The NE defense in the Eagles' Superbowl forced three turnovers, two four and outs, and four three and outs!!
Wait let me add some more exclamation points to re-emphasize that ...
Three turnovers, two four and outs, and four three and outs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And don't blame it on REST, or a TIRED DEFENSE. The 2011 Pats chewed up MORE CLOCK PER DRIVE!!!!!!
The defensive efficiencies are astounding!
Eagles -- 60% drive fail rate / 25% scoring rate / 2:21 TOP per drive
Giants -- 0% (0 efffffing percent!!) drive fail rate / 50% scoring rate / 4:07 TOP per drive
The IRONY is that the 2011 defense, which was an abject failure even if NE's offense didn't play up to its lofty standards without Gronkowski, wouldn't have had to be that good even.
Even collecting one turnover (perhaps the one negated by sloppy execution on a 12 man penalty) would have swung the entire game. Even if that were a 4 and out or five and out. H's Bells, man, that alone would have been at *least* and 11 point swing ... negating an eventual Giants' TD and replacing it with a chipshot FG. Voila.
Scoreboard: NE 20, NYG 15.
Forget about earning NE another 4 drives (so maybe they could fritter them away like they did against the Eagles).
This isn't, again and finally, about blaming one loss on one side of the ball or another. It's about spotting a trend.
NE doesn't have as good a defense as they did in the early part of the decade.
NE now, tends to lose low scoring games.
NE now, is a LESS complete team, and THUS not as good a team as those Patriots.
Is the offense better? Of COURSE. But not so much better that it can make up for a defense that is so much worse.
Don't look at it as an isolated game. Don't think, NE loses the last game of the season. Ne loses to playoff teams.
Look at it in combination with the other losses NE has taken over the LARGE sample of three-four seasons.
NE loses low scoring games. They haven't had a defense that is reliable enough to hang in those.
Running, playcalling, etcetera, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Let's just end this conversation, because it completely avoids the topic .....
Unless you are positing that the two brilliant 3 and out running drives in the waning minutes of the Eagles' SB were the "winning formula" you MUST accept this.
Now, I will conclude by saying what I said (and was unfortunately correct about) the last two postseasons.
For the New England Patriots to win three games against high quality opponents in the playoffs either their offense is going to need to be perfect, scoring at least 24, but in reality 30+, in three straight games against three teams that have good-great defenses ....
Their defense is going to have to actually contribute to some wins for them.
That means nearly 100% execution by the offense ... or just getting their D to kick down in one game when they need it.
You can't win by showing up with a defense that essentially has to play prevent from snap one, and curls up in the fetal position waving a white flag hoping its offense will drop 24+ points on defenses like NY or Baltmore, or SF, or Houston, or Seattle. Some weeks they might be able to do it, others they won't.
And running the football 3-4 more times in a game isn't going to do SQUAT to fix that.
Execution by the defense will, and yes, execution by the offense will.