With the way things were going in the first half, all signs pointed to the New England Patriots pulling off the win against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship to appear in the Super Bowl for the second-straight season. Unfortunately, everything seemed to fall apart in the second half as the Ravens pulled off the upset in their 28-13 win–leaving many wondering if New England would have won this game with Rob Gronkowski in the lineup.
The Patriots received a major blow to their offense in the Divisional Round of the playoffs against the Houston Texans when Gronkowski broke his forearm for the second time this season–with the first time coming in November against the Indianapolis Colts. Losing Gronkowski for the playoffs certainly put New England at a disadvantage, but nobody expected the offense to struggle as much as they did against Baltimore considering how many other weapons Tom Brady has to throw to.
Between Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, and Brandon Lloyd, everybody assumed the Patriots would have ben just fine without their star pass-catching tight end, but now it’s clear how much they could have used him in the AFC Championship. Instead of looking for their fourth Lombardi Trophy in the Brady era, the Patriots will be forced to watch this year’s Super Bowl from home–which has to be frustrating for this New England team considering how close they were to winning it all last season.
Hopefully, the Patriots don’t have to worry about this type of situation last year considering they could have easily won two-straight Super Bowls if Gronkowski could have managed to stay healthy in the lineup.
“Like” Dan Parzych on Facebook
Be sure to follow Dan on Twitter @DanParzych