posted at 2/2/2013 4:18 AM EST
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It was Belichick who said stats are for losers. His Patriots are proving his point.
The team has become too reliant on Brady, too content to pile up points, yards, first downs, and charred secondaries in the regular season only to be stopped cold on the big stage.
The most disconcerting part of the loss to the Ravens was that their commitment to be a more physical, more balanced team that spent more time under center waned.
After having the seventh-rated rushing attack in the NFL during the season, a 1,263-yard rusher in Stevan Ridley, and leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns, the Patriots forsook the run game in the AFC title game, throwing the ball 54 times and rushing it 28.
Their longest rush was just 9 yards.
Of the 11 third- or fourth-and-short situations they had (3 yards or less), the Patriots lined up in the shotgun nine times.
In the first 10 playoff games of Brady’s career — all wins — he threw the ball 40 or more times three times.
In the last 14 games — in which he has gone 7-7 — Brady has thrown the ball 40 or more times seven times. The Patriots are 2-5 in those games. The wins were this year against the Houston Texans and in 2006 over the San Diego Chargers in the divisional round.
The personnel can change, but if the personality and philosophy don’t, the Patriot Way will continue to be a championship dead end.