Are the Patriots finally finished after losing to Titans?

New England Patriots, NFL Playoffs

The New England Patriots, who were once 8-0 this season, are going home after losing to the Tennessee Titans and the dynasty may finally be dead.

Final

New England Patriots

13

Tennessee Titans

20

After two decades of terrorizing the NFL, the New England Patriots’ dynasty may have finally come to an end. The Tennessee Titans manhandled the Patriots in a 20-13 victory, with Derrick Henry imposing his will on New England by rushing 34 times for 182 yards and a big touchdown.

While the Patriots’ defense simply couldn’t handle the Titans’ rushing attack, the most alarming thing for New England was its continued struggles on offense. Tom Brady, in what could be his final game as a Patriot, was just 20-of-37 for 209 yards with no touchdowns and a game-sealing pick-six.

Even though the legendary Brady wasn’t playing well, he couldn’t get any help from his teammates. No one could get open outside of Julian Edelman, and the Titans made it very difficult for New England to get anything going on the offensive side of the football, even pitching a second-half shutout in Foxboro.

The Patriots’ offense was so poor that the normally ultra-aggressive Bill Belichick made a few very conservative choices. With New England up 10-7 and facing a fourth and goal from the 2-yard line late in the first half, Belichick opted to kick a field goal instead of pushing for the touchdown, which would have altered the flow of this game.

The other critical juncture came in the fourth quarter, with New England down a point and facing fourth and three from the Tennessee 47-yard line. Belichick opted to punt the football instead of going for the first down, showcasing his knowledge that the Patriots didn’t have enough talent on offense to get the job done.

The loss raises serious questions about New England’s future, especially with the pending free agency of Tom Brady, who is 42 years old and looked like a shadow of himself down the stretch. Brady has hinted in the past about playing until he turns 45, but this defeat could inspire him to move on and finish his career elsewhere.

There have been rumblings before about the Patriots’ dynasty being finished, which were definitely premature, but this kind of performance over a prolonged period will raise them again. Even if Brady comes back for another year, he isn’t getting any younger, and New England’s best days are definitely behind them.

Next: What was the craziest moment from Bills-Texans?

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